Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Wyoming Unemployment Falls in May
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 4.4 percent in April 2002 to 4.3 percent in May, and over-the-year job growth held steady at 1.5 percent. U.S. unemployment fell from 6.0 percent in April 2002 to 5.8 percent in May. 

From April to May 2002, Wyoming gained 8,600 jobs or 3.5 percent. This level of over-the-month growth is consistent with the historical series, which increased 8,700 jobs in May 2001 and 7,300 jobs in May 2000. From April to May 2002, Construction employment increased by 1,400 jobs, Retail Trade increased by 1,800 jobs, Services added 3,200 jobs, and Government added 1,300 jobs. Among the very few industries which shed jobs were Manufacturing (-100 jobs or -0.9%), amusement & recreation services (-300 jobs or -8.3%) and health services (-100 jobs or -0.8%). 

When compared to May 2001, Wyoming nonagricultural employment grew by 3,600 jobs or 1.5 percent. Mining employment was unchanged from May 2001, as strong job gains in coal mining (400 jobs or 8.7%) were offset by modest losses in oil & gas extraction (-300 jobs or -2.6%) and other areas of Mining. Construction added 600 jobs (or 3.3%) and Wholesale Trade grew by 500 jobs or 6.3 percent. Services employment continued to grow at a relatively rapid pace, adding 2,100 jobs or 3.6 percent. Within Services, growth was seen in hotels & lodging places, auto & miscellaneous repair, health services, and private social services. 

On an over-the-year basis, job losses were seen in Manufacturing (-200 jobs or -1.8%), Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (-100 jobs or -0.7%), and Retail Trade (-300 jobs or -0.6%). 

As expected, most county unemployment rates fell from April to May 2002. The only three which increased were Washakie County (up from 6.0% to 6.8%), Niobrara County (up from 3.9% to 4.4%), and Uinta County (up from 5.9% to 6.0%). Crook County experienced a large decrease in unemployment, falling from 5.1 percent to 3.0 percent.

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