The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported that the state’s seasonally adjusted1 unemployment rate fell significantly from 4.2% in December 2014 to 4.0% in January 2015 (the estimated number of unemployed individuals decreased by 578). Wyoming’s unemployment rate was lower than its January 2014 level of 4.3% and significantly lower than the January 2015 U.S. unemployment rate of 5.7%. Seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased very slightly, rising by an estimated 340 individuals (0.1%) from December to January.
Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased from December to January. Unemployment often increases in January because of seasonal job losses in many sectors, including construction, retail trade, and professional & business services. The largest over-the-month unemployment rate increases occurred in Johnson (up from 4.8% to 6.2%), Lincoln (up from 5.3% to 6.4%), and Weston (up from 3.1% to 4.1%) counties. Teton County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.0% in December to 4.3% in January.
From January 2014 to January 2015, unemployment rates fell in 20 counties and rose slightly in three counties. The largest decreases were seen in Big Horn (down from 6.1% to 4.9%), Uinta (down from 6.0% to 5.1%), Washakie (down from 5.7% to 4.9%), Teton (down from 5.1% to 4.3%), and Natrona (down from 5.2 to 4.4%) counties. Unemployment rates increased slightly in Sublette (up from 5.2% to 5.4%), Johnson (up from 6.1% to 6.2%), and Weston (up from 4.0% to 4.1%) counties.
Lincoln County (6.4%) posted the highest unemployment rate in January. It was followed by Fremont (6.2%), Johnson (6.2%), Park (5.6%), and Sheridan (5.6%) counties. The lowest unemployment rates were found in Converse (3.5%), Niobrara (3.6%), Goshen (3.8%), Campbell (3.8%), and Albany (3.8%) counties.
Total nonfarm employment (measured by place of work) rose from 281,600 in January 2014 to 286,800 in January 2015, a gain of 5,200 jobs (1.8%).
1Seasonal adjustment is a statistical procedure to remove the impact of normal regularly recurring events (such as weather, major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools) from economic time series to better understand changes in economic conditions from month to month.