Wyoming Unemployment Unchanged
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent in August and labor force continued to grow (up 2.3% from August 2002). The U.S. unemployment rate fell slightly (down from 6.2% in July to 6.1% in August), but remained two percentage points above Wyoming’s rate. The number of nonfarm jobs grew slightly in Wyoming (600 jobs or 0.2%), but fell in the U.S. (down 560,000 jobs or 0.4%).
From July to August, Wyoming employment fell by 1,200 jobs or 0.5 percent. Historically, no clear seasonal pattern emerges from July to August. In some years (1999 and 2002) Wyoming lost jobs, while in other years (2000 and 2001) Wyoming added jobs from July to August. This year, Leisure & Hospitality was the largest contributor to the August decline, falling by 1,700 jobs or 4.5 percent. However, offsetting gains appeared in Construction (300 jobs or 1.4%), Transportation and Utilities (200 jobs or 1.8%), Professional & Business Services (200 jobs or 1.3%), and Government (300 jobs or 0.5%).
From August 2002 to August 2003, Wyoming added 600 jobs or 0.2 percent. August marks the 15th month that over-the-year employment growth has remained below 1.0 percent. Notable job gains occurred in Transportation & Utilities (200 jobs or 1.8%), Information (200 jobs or 4.9%), Educational & Health Services (200 jobs or 1.0%), and Government (1,000 jobs or 1.7%). Job losses were reported in Construction (-300 jobs or -1.4%), Manufacturing (-400 jobs or -4.2%), Retail Trade (-200 jobs or -0.6%), and Professional & Business Services (-300 jobs or -1.8%).
Across Wyoming’s counties, unemployment rates were stable in August. Teton County posted the largest increase, growing from 1.8 percent in July to 2.1 percent. Unemployment rates fell significantly in Weston County (down from 3.0% in July to 2.5%), Lincoln County (down from 4.6% in July to 4.1%), and Crook County (down from 3.1% to 2.6%). Fremont County had the highest unemployment rate (4.8%), and Albany and Niobrara counties shared the lowest (1.7%).
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