by: David Bullard, Economist
"The Wyoming economy created 2,900 jobs in July for a growth rate of 1.2 percent."
Led by gains in Services and Construction, the Wyoming economy created 2,900 jobs in July for a growth rate of 1.2 percent. This is the strongest growth Wyoming has experienced in the past year. June estimates of nonagricultural employment were revised upward by 1,600 jobs. Job growth in the Cheyenne metropolitan area was similar to the statewide average at 1.1 percent (+400 jobs), while employment in Casper was up 3.6 percent (+1,100 jobs). Wyoming’s two metropolitan areas, which make up less than one-third of nonagricultural employment, accounted for more than one-half of the new jobs. Unemployment fell significantly from 4.5 percent in June to 4.1 percent in July, dropping below the US unemployment rate for the first time in eight months. The Construction industry continued to expand in July, adding 800 jobs (+4.5%). Growth was particularly strong in Heavy Construction (up 400 jobs or 7.5%). Employment in the Services industry increased by 900 jobs or 1.6 percent. Social Services (+200 jobs or 3.8%) and Business Services (+200 jobs or 2.8%) also grew at faster-than-average rates. Manufacturing employment increased by 300 jobs or 2.7 percent. Small job losses in Oil & Gas Extraction (-100 jobs or -1.1%) were offset by gains in Coal Mining (+100 jobs or 2.2%), leaving total Mining employment unchanged over the year. Associated with strong job gains was a decrease in the unemployment rate. The number of unemployed individuals fell by 1,318 (10.8%). At 4.1 percent, Wyoming’s unemployment rate is well below the national average of 4.5 percent. However, this represents a seasonal pattern where the Wyoming unemployment rate usually falls below the national rate in the summer, only to rise above it in the winter. This pattern is largely due to Wyoming’s dependence on seasonal industries such as tourism, Construction and Agriculture. Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims were down 13.0 percent from June and down slightly over the year. Signaling that job losses in the Mining industry may have leveled off, both Initial and Continued UI claims were down from that industry.
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