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


Local Area Unemployment Statistics for Second Quarter 2002

by: Brad Payne, Economist

During the second quarter of 2002, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) over-the-year statewide employment increased by 597 jobs or 0.2 percent (see Table). Employment grew between the second quarters of 2001 and 2002 by 1.3 percent, less than it grew between the second quarters of 2000 and 2001. Similarly, the labor force increased by 1,790 or 0.7 percent between first quarters 2001 and 2002, unemployment increased by 1,193 or 11.8 percent over the same time period. The 11.8 percent increase in unemployment is considerably larger than the 3.1 percent increase in unemployment a year ago. Consequently, the unemployment rate during second quarter 2002 (4.1%) was much higher than the unemployment rate during second quarter 2001 (3.7%). 

Within Wyoming, the Central and Southeast regions experienced negative employment growth, while the remaining three regions posted positive over-the-year employment growth. Of the regions showing growth, the Northwest recorded the highest rate of growth (1.5 percent) by adding 690 jobs. Employment growth in Fremont County (619 jobs) and Park County (381 jobs) offset employment losses in the remaining counties of the region.

The statewide increase in unemployment was driven by the Southwest region where job losses increased between the second quarters of 2001 and 2002 by 468 or 22.5 percent. Uinta County led the region with increased unemployment of 171 or 33.6 percent. The job losses were mainly in the Construction and oil & gas extraction industries.

The most dramatic quarter-to-quarter increases in the unemployment rates were found in Niobrara and Uinta counties. Niobrara County’s over-the-year change in the unemployment rate was 1.5 percentage points (up from 2.5% in second quarter 2001 to 4.0% in second quarter 2002). Uinta County’s unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent in second quarter 2001 to 6.1 percent in second quarter 2002. In Niobrara County, a decrease in both the number employed and the labor force, and an increase in the number unemployed contributed to the increase in the unemployment rate.

Fremont, Converse, Crook, Weston, and Goshen were the only counties in Wyoming showing a decrease in the over-the-year quarterly unemployment rates. The unemployment rates between the second quarters of 2001 and 2002 fell from 6.4 percent to 5.7 percent in Fremont County, 4.0 percent to 3.9 percent in Converse County, 3.7 percent to 3.6 percent in Crook County, 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent in Weston County, and 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent in Goshen County. The decreases in the unemployment rates for Fremont County and Weston County were driven by increases in employment with corresponding decreases in unemployment. Converse, Crook, and Goshen counties’ unemployment rate decreases were driven by a shrinking labor force which could have been caused by potential employees either leaving the county to find work or abandoning their job searches.


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