The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported that the state’s seasonally adjusted1 unemployment rate (4.1%) was unchanged from April to May. Wyoming’s unemployment rate was slightly lower than its May 2014 level of 4.3% and significantly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5%. Seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased slightly, rising by an estimated 741 individuals (0.3%) from April to May. This level of over-the-month employment growth is a normal change.
From April to May, almost all county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and decreased. Employment tends to increase in May, with warmer weather bringing seasonal job gains in leisure & hospitality, construction, government, retail trade, and professional & business services. The largest unemployment rate decreases occurred in Teton (down from 6.9% to 4.6%), Sublette (down from 5.3% to 4.3%), and Hot Springs (down from 4.5% to 3.5%) counties. Converse County’s unemployment rate rose very slightly from 3.5% to 3.6%.
From May 2014 to May 2015, unemployment rates fell in 16 counties, were unchanged in three counties, and increased in four counties. The largest decreases were found in Teton (down from 6.0% to 4.6%), Niobrara (down from 3.2% to 2.2%), and Laramie (down from 4.3% to 3.3%) counties. Unemployment rates rose from a year earlier in Converse (up from 2.9% to 3.6%), Natrona (up from 4.0% to 4.4%), Sweetwater (up from 4.0% to 4.3%), and Campbell (up from 3.3% to 3.4%) counties.
Fremont County had the highest unemployment rate in the state (4.8%) in May. It was followed by Uinta (4.7%), Teton (4.6%), and Natrona (4.4%) counties. The lowest unemployment rates were found in Niobrara (2.2%), Albany (2.6%), and Goshen (2.9%) counties.
Total nonfarm employment (measured by place of work) rose from 294,300 in May 2014 to 294,600 in May 2015, a gain of 300 jobs (0.1%). This was the slowest over-the-year job growth since April 2013.
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.