© Copyright 2003 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Covered Employment and Wages for First Quarter 2003

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
tables by: Nancy Brennan, Economist

Unemployment Insurance (UI)1 covered employment increased by 378 jobs or 0.2 percent during first quarter 2003 compared to first quarter 2002. First quarter's employment increase is significantly lower than the five-year average growth of 1.9 percent marking a slowdown in job growth in Wyoming (see Table 1). Total private employment fell by 721 jobs or 0.4 percent, but job gains in Government (1,098 jobs or 1.9%) more than made up the difference. Job losses occurred primarily in Mining, Construction, and Manufacturing. This overall slowdown in job growth has been seen in the Current Employment Statistics data2 for several months (see Nonagricultural Employment Growth figure and Nonagricultural Wage and Salary Employment table). Total payroll increased by 2.6 percent, well below the five-year average of 6.1 percent. Average weekly wage increased by $13 or 2.5 percent, also below its five-year average (4.1%).

Table 2 and the Figure show that growth in employment and total wages has been slowing since first quarter 2002. In first quarter 2002, employment grew by 1.5 percent, and the growth rate fell each successive quarter until reaching 0.2 percent in first quarter 2003. The Figure shows that payroll growth stood at 6.5 percent in first quarter 2002, fell to 2.4 percent in fourth quarter 2002, and then rebounded slightly to 2.6 percent in first quarter 2003. 

Statewide Employment and Wages by Industry

Each year approximately one-third of the employers covered by Unemployment Insurance in Wyoming are contacted by mail questionnaire to confirm that they have been assigned the correct North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If it is found that an employer has changed primary business activity, a new NAICS code is assigned to reflect that change. Research staff also review employers’ NAICS codes if the business is sold, incorporated, or otherwise changes ownership. In this manner, Research & Planning continuously ensures that employers are assigned to the correct industry category. However, such changes also make it difficult for data users to make direct comparisons across years, as large employers may have moved from one NAICS sector to another.

Table 3 shows that Health Care & Social Assistance, Accommodation & Food Services, Transportation & Warehousing, State Government and Local Government created the largest number of jobs in first quarter. 

Health Care & Social Assistance added 728 jobs or 4.1 percent as a result of strong job gains in ambulatory health care services (the industry which includes doctors offices and clinics) and social services. Employment in private hospitals fell slightly during first quarter, while employment in nursing and residential care facilities was essentially unchanged.

Accommodation & Food Services gained 604 jobs or 2.4 percent during first quarter. Accommodation (including hotels) added 500 jobs, while food services and drinking places added 100. A large part of the first quarter job gains in accommodation were located in Teton County, which often sees an increase in this quarter.

Transportation & Warehousing added 473 jobs or 7.4 percent during first quarter. Employment in warehousing and storage grew dramatically, while jobs were also gained in air transportation and support activities for transportation.

State Government added 428 jobs or 3.5 percent, including about 100 jobs in educational services. The remainder of new jobs was spread across several different state agencies.

Local Government grew by 368 jobs or 1.0 percent. Gains were seen throughout Local Government, including publicly-owned hospitals, educational services (school districts and community colleges), and public administration (offices of cities, towns, and counties). The employment growth in public hospitals is consistent with the long-term growth seen in Health Care & Social Assistance.

Employment in Wyoming’s Construction industry fell by 886 jobs or 5.1 percent during first quarter. Part of this decrease may be related to the completion of a gas plant project in 2002.

Mining employment fell by 747 jobs or 4.1 percent during first quarter. Job losses were seen in oil & gas extraction (-280 jobs) and support activities for mining (-400 jobs).

Manufacturing employment decreased by 305 jobs or 3.3 percent because of job losses in many subsectors, especially chemical manufacturing. 

Average weekly wage increased by $13 or 2.5 percent when compared to first quarter 2002. Bonuses in Finance & Insurance and Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation affected average weekly wage in those industries.

Employment and Wages by County

As shown in Table 4, employment increased in 12 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during first quarter. In an effort to increase data quality, the Covered Employment and Wages unit has continued to contact many employers with “nonclassified” geographic codes in order to place them within counties. This has resulted in a significant decrease in employment in the “nonclassified” geographic designation, and corresponding increases in many counties throughout the state. While the long-run result will be higher-quality data, initially some of the employment increases at the county level may simply be interpreted as more accurate reporting, rather than actual increases in the number of jobs in the counties.

Lincoln County grew by 664 jobs or 13.7 percent during first quarter. This increase was partially the result of reclassification of employers from “nonclassified” into Lincoln County. 

Teton County added 490 jobs or 3.3 percent during first quarter. Significant job gains in Accommodation & Food Services, Local Government, and Transportation & Warehousing were partially offset by job losses in Construction.

Employment in Sweetwater County grew by 395 jobs or 2.2 percent when compared to first quarter 2002. Mining, Construction, and Health Care & Social Assistance all gained jobs while Manufacturing employment fell.

Campbell County employment fell by 644 jobs or 3.1 percent during first quarter. Job losses were seen in many industries, especially Mining, Construction, Retail Trade, Administrative & Waste Services, and Accommodation & Food Services. Job gains occurred in Local Government and Wholesale Trade. Part of the decrease in Mining was the result of a change in county code.

Employment in Fremont County fell by 510 jobs or 3.5 percent. A large part of the overall decrease was related to the completion of a gas plant construction project. Significant job gains were seen in Health Care & Social Assistance and Local Government.

Natrona County added 345 jobs or 1.1 percent in first quarter (see Table 5). Job gains were seen in Mining (74 jobs or 3.7%), Construction (155 jobs or 8.2%), Health Care & Social Assistance (119 jobs or 2.9%) and Accommodation & Food Services (133 jobs or 5.1%). Notable job losses occurred in Manufacturing (-53 jobs or -3.4%), Wholesale Trade (-142 jobs or -6.2%), and Information (-66 jobs or -11.6%). Wholesale Trade was affected as a number of companies were reclassified into other industries.

Total payroll in Natrona County grew by 2.8 percent, slightly faster than the whole state (2.6%). However, average weekly wage grew at a slower pace (1.7%). Average weekly wage in Management of Companies & Enterprises was affected by a bonus paid in first quarter.

Table 6 shows that Laramie County added 1,457 jobs or 4.0 percent in first quarter. Significant job gains occurred in Construction (130 jobs or 6.3%), Retail Trade (157 jobs or 3.0%), Transportation & Warehousing (304 jobs or 28.8%), Federal Government (125 jobs or 5.2%) and State Government (153 jobs or 4.1%). Employment fell slightly in Manufacturing (-34 jobs or -2.3%), Administrative & Waste Services (-36 jobs or -2.1%), and Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation (-24 jobs or -7.9%). The employment decline in Management of Companies & Enterprises (-61 jobs or -22.3%) was primarily the result of the reclassification of a firm from that sector to Health Care & Social Assistance.

Total payroll in Laramie County grew 6.6 percent in first quarter, much faster than at the statewide level (2.6%). The large increase in average weekly wage in Mining ($107 or 14.6%) was related to the reclassification of a firm from Finance & Insurance rather than a general increase in wages. A large part of the decrease in average weekly wage in Manufacturing (-$71 or -8.8%) appears to be related to the payroll of a single firm.

1Approximately 85-90 percent of all workers in Wyoming are covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI). Some exceptions include the self-employed and many agricultural workers.

2The Current Employment Statistics program will incorporate the covered employment data from first quarter in its annual benchmark revisions.

Table of Contents | Labor Market Information | Wyoming Job Network | Send Us Mail

These pages designed by Julie Barnish.
Last modified on by Susan J. Murray.