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Wyoming Labor Force Trends

September 2023 | Volume 60, No. 9

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Lincoln County Sees Population, Employment Growth in 2022

Article | Tables and Figures

by: Matthew Halama, Senior Economist

lincoln county spotlight logo

Past issues of Wyoming Labor Force Trends have included articles that spotlight particular industries or occupations by focusing on economic indicators over time. This article instead focuses on a specific county — Lincoln County — by looking at data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) over the last 20 years.

Lincoln County was chosen as the first county spotlight subject in part due to its recent population growth. As noted by Moore (2023), Lincoln County showed the second largest population growth from 2020 to 2022, increasing from 19,657 to 20,660 (1,003, or 5.1%).

This article discuses quarterly and annual data from the QCEW on the number of businesses, average monthly employment, total wages, and average weekly wage.

The data presented in this article were obtained from the quarterly Wyoming Unemployment Insurance (UI) reports and compiled by the QCEW program, which is administered by the Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data discussed in this article are available online at https://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/toc_202.htm.

Business Locations and Average Monthly Employment

The number of UI-covered businesses in Lincoln County has grown substantially over the last 20 years, from 645 in 2002 to 1,130 in 2022 (an increase of 485, or 75.2%; see Table 1). And as noted by Wen (2021), the number of new businesses in Lincoln County grew from 84 in 2016 to 97 in 2020 (13, or 15.5%).

From 2021 to 2022, average monthly employment increased from 6,806 to 6,947 (111 jobs, or 2.1%; see Table 2). In 2022, the largest industry of employment in Lincoln County was construction with 1,037 jobs, followed by retail trade with 917 and mining with 594. The largest over-the-year job gains were in finance & insurance (25), retail trade (20), accommodation & food services (18), and construction (16). Local government in Lincoln County increased by 34 jobs, or 2.1%.

After a substantial decline during the Great Recession that began in December 2007, Lincoln County’s employment has consistently grown over the last decade (see Figure 1). Lincoln was one of very few counties without a substantial drop in employment during the pandemic.

Total Wages

Total wages grew from $371.2 million in 2021 to $389.7 million in 2022 (an increase of $18.4 million, or 5.0%). The industries with the largest payrolls in 2022 were mining, including oil & gas ($65.4 million), construction ($54.0 million), and retail trade ($30.5 million).

In 2022, mining accounted for 8.6% of all jobs in Lincoln County (the third largest industry) and 16.8% of the county's total wages, more than any other industry.

Over the year, the largest percentage gains in total wages were in real estate & rental and leasing (50.0%), finance & insurance (44.3%), and manufacturing (16.4%).

Total wages in Lincoln County followed the same trend as average monthly employment and increased substantially over the last decade (see Figure 2). From 2002 to 2022, average monthly employment increased by 31.9%, while total wages increased by 175.3%. Lincoln County outpaced the statewide increase in employment (13.6%) and total wages (120.8%) from 2002 to 2022. The $389.7 million in total wages in 2022 was the largest in Lincoln County’s history.

Average Weekly Wage

The average weekly wage in Lincoln County increased from $1,049 in 2021 to $1,079 in 2022 ($30, or 2.9%), and was slightly lower than the statewide average of $1,083 (Research & Planning, 2023; see Figure 3). The highest average weekly wages were in mining, including oil & gas ($2,116), utilities ($2,041), and professional & technical services ($1,829). The greatest average weekly wage percentage increases were in real estate & rental & leasing (32.3%), agriculture, forestry, fishing, & hunting (26.7%), and finance & insurance (21.4%).


Lincoln County has seen consistent growth in employment and wages over the last decade, and was one of a few counties that did not see a substantial decline during the Covid-19 pandemic. Anticipated energy projects, such as the TerraPower natrium power plant, likely will encourage growth in Lincoln County over the next several years.


Moore, M. (2023, June). Chapter 3: Population estimates: Lincoln, Sheridan counties lead population growth in 2022. 2023 Wyoming Workforce Annual Report. Research & Planning, WY DWS. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/annual-report/2023/2023_Annual_Report.pdf#page=20

Research & Planning. (2023, May). Employment and wages by county. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/2022_QCEW/t1_2022.htm

Wen, S. (2021, November). Wyoming new business formation in 2019 and 2020. Wyoming Labor Force Trends, 58(11). Research & Planning, WY DWS. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/trends/1121/1121.pdf