Editor's note: This special issue of Trends includes a workforce training report. The regular monthly and quarterly tables and figures can be found online at http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/trends/0416/toc.htm.
This special report, produced by the Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) in partnership with Wyoming Workforce Development Council, provides a snapshot of the labor market analysis component for Wyoming’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Unified State Plan. When oil prices dropped in the fall of 2015, occupational projections, based on the continuity of historic trendlines, no longer reflected the most likely course of occupational growth in Wyoming. For this reason, R&P conducted an analysis of the condition of Wyoming’s economy through 2020 using unemployment insurance (UI) claims, demographic and wage records data, and historic data from previous times of economic expansion and contraction. Multiple economic indicators are required to fully understand events in the labor market. For example, Chapter 3 of this report discusses the components of the unemployment rate and how unemployment estimates alone are not enough to determine the health of the economy. In addition, with the knowledge that Wyoming’s economy greatly depends on the mining industry, the dropping price of oil may reflect the condition of the economy as a whole; however, some industries may not experience the same losses as others.
In his book Connections (2007), on the history of great inventions, James Burke states that, “given average intelligence and the information available to the innovators of the past, any reader could have matched their achievements1 .” The databases available to DWS through R&P enhance discussions about solving problems to improve Wyoming’s labor market. For example, with this shared knowledge, the Unified Plan was developed to guide discussions about effective training programs to reemploy out-of-work individuals and assist others in attaining self-sufficiency.
As the economy evolves and new knowledge becomes available, readers are encouraged to continue following news releases and other reports produced by R&P (found at http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/).