© Copyright 2006 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 42 No. 11

Covered Employment and Wages for First Quarter 2005: Mining Sector Continues to Drive Growth

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

Unemployment Insurance (UI) covered employment increased by 6,337 jobs or 2.7% during first quarter 2005 compared to first quarter 2004. First quarter’s employment increase is higher than the 5-year average growth rate of 2.0% (see Table 1). Total payroll increased by $118.8 million or 6.6%, also higher than its five-year average (5.8%). The average weekly wage increased by $22 or 3.8%, matching its five-year average (3.8%).

Table 2 shows that employment growth has accelerated from 2.0% in third quarter 2004 to 2.7% in first quarter 2005. Growth in total wages increased slightly from 6.5% in fourth quarter 2004 to 6.6% in first quarter 2005 (see Figure).

Statewide Employment and Wages by Industry

The purpose of this article is to show employment and payroll changes between first quarter 2004 and first quarter 2005. These economic changes help us gauge the strength of Wyoming’s economy and identify the fastest and slowest growing industries and geographic areas.

Job growth was seen across several industries. The largest job gains occurred in Mining, Construction, Local Government, Accommodation & Food Services, and Health Care & Social Assistance (see Table 3).

Mining (including oil & gas) added 2,144 jobs or 11.2%. Employment increased in almost every area of the Mining industry. Job gains occurred in oil & gas extraction, coal mining, nonmetallic mineral mining & quarrying, and support activities for mining. Wyoming’s Mining sector is clearly benefiting from higher energy prices.

Construction employment grew by 751 jobs or 4.5% in first quarter. Construction of buildings added over 100 jobs, while heavy & civil engineering construction employment fell slightly. The specialty trade contractors subindustry was the fastest growing part of Construction, adding almost 700 jobs.

Local Government employment increased by 702 jobs or 1.8% during first quarter. Within Local Government, job gains were seen in Educational Services (including public school districts), Health Care & Social Assistance (including public hospitals), and Public Administration (including cities, towns, & counties).

Accommodation & Food Services added 592 jobs or 2.3%. Employment increased at roughly the same pace in accommodation and food services & drinking places.

Employment grew by 558 jobs or 2.9% in Health Care & Social Assistance. Growth was strongest in ambulatory health care services and social assistance. Private hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities added fewer jobs.

Professional & Technical Services added 541 jobs or 7.2% in first quarter. Growth occurred in each area of this industry, but the largest gains were found in architectural, engineering, & related services; computer systems design & related services; and management, scientific, & technical consulting services.

Employment and Wages by County

As shown in Table 4, employment increased in 18 of Wyoming’s 23 counties during first quarter.

Broad-based economic growth caused Sweetwater County to add 1,339 jobs or 6.9% in first quarter. Employment growth was seen in Mining, Utilities, Construction, Wholesale Trade, Transportation & Warehousing, Accommodation & Food Services, and Local Government. Employment fell slightly in Manufacturing and Finance & Insurance.

Campbell County grew much faster than the statewide average, gaining 1,241 jobs or 6.0%. Mining (including oil & gas) led the job growth in the county. Other notable increases occurred in Construction, Transportation & Warehousing, Administrative & Waste Services, and Local Government.

The overall level of growth in Teton County matched the statewide average (2.7%). Jobs were added in Construction, Real Estate & Rental & Leasing, Health Care & Social Assistance, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, and Accommodation & Food Services. Modest job losses occurred in Transportation & Warehousing and Information.

Fremont County employment grew by 314 jobs or 2.2% in first quarter 2005. Jobs were added in many industries, including Mining, Construction, Manufacturing, Information, Real Estate & Rental & Leasing, and Accommodation & Food Services.

Lincoln County lost 224 jobs or -3.9% during first quarter. Job losses in Construction were partially offset by gains in many other industries, including Mining, Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Transportation & Warehousing, and Local Government.

Employment in Uinta County decreased by 144 jobs or -1.7%. Modest job losses in Construction, Retail Trade, and Health Care & Social Assistance were partially offset by employment increases in Mining, Manufacturing, and Wholesale Trade. Employment fell by 73 jobs or -1.7% in Big Horn County. Job losses occurred in several industries including Agriculture; Manufacturing; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Transportation & Warehousing; and Accommodation & Food Services. Employment showed moderate growth in Mining; Real Estate & Rental & Leasing; and Administrative & Waste Services.

Table 5 shows that Natrona County’s total payroll increased by $30 million or 11.7%. This is much faster than the 5-year average growth of 7.7%. The county added 1,623 jobs or 4.8% in first quarter. Mining (including oil & gas) employment increased by 591 jobs or 21.9%. Health Care & Social Assistance grew by 272 jobs or 6.3%. Employment fell in Administrative & Waste Services because of layoffs by telemarketing firms.

Laramie County grew by 454 jobs or 1.2% (see Table 6). Local Government (including public schools and hospitals) added the largest number of jobs (304 jobs or 5.3%). Other notable increases occurred in Construction (183 jobs or 7.9%), Health Care & Social Assistance (154 jobs or 5.1%), and Transportation & Warehousing (143 jobs or 9.7%). Administrative & Waste Services lost 453 jobs or 25.7% because a project was finished and a business closed.

In summary, Wyoming’s economy grew at a faster than average pace during first quarter 2005. The Mining industry (including oil & gas) experienced the strongest growth, but some growth was seen in almost every industry sector and in 18 of Wyoming’s 23 counties. The fastest employment growth occurred in those counties where the Mining sector has a significant presence (Campbell, Johnson, Natrona, Sublette, and Sweetwater counties).

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