© Copyright 2003 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Wyoming Unemployment Decreases in September and Job Growth Inches Along
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly from 4.1 percent in August to 4.0 percent in September and remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. Wyoming continued to add jobs at a very slow pace (900 jobs or 0.4%) in comparison to earlier years (1998-2001). In contrast to Wyoming’s job growth, the U.S. lost jobs in over-the-year comparisons (-507,000 jobs or -0.4%).

From August to September, Wyoming lost 1,600 nonfarm payroll jobs (-0.6%). This decrease is consistent with the usual seasonal decline as tourist activity falls off and construction activity starts to slow. Leisure & Hospitality employment fell by 2,400 jobs or 6.6 percent, Professional & Business Services fell by 900 jobs or 5.6 percent, Retail Trade fell by 600 jobs or 1.9 percent, and Construction fell by 500 jobs or 2.3 percent. These job losses were partially offset by gains in Local Government employment (3,200 jobs or 8.7%) as public schools and colleges reopened.

From September 2002 to September 2003, Wyoming added 900 jobs or 0.4 percent. In a reversal from earlier months, Natural Resources & Mining added jobs (300 jobs or 1.7%). Financial Activities also changed directions, from job gains earlier in the year, to job losses in September (-200 jobs or -2.0%). Job losses continued in Construction (-500 jobs or -2.3%), Manufacturing (-400 jobs or -4.2%), and Professional & Business Services (-500 jobs or -3.2%). Job growth continued in Information (300 jobs or 7.5%), Educational & Health Services (400 jobs or 2.0%), Leisure & Hospitality (500 jobs or 1.5%), and Government (400 jobs or 0.6%). 

Across Wyoming’s 23 counties, unemployment rates remained low. The highest rates were in Uinta County (4.7%), Lincoln County (4.5%), and Fremont County (4.4%). The lowest rates were in Albany County (1.7%), Niobrara County (1.8%), and Johnson County (2.2%). Most unemployment rates fell slightly from their September 2002 levels. The most notable decreases occurred in Washakie County (down from 4.5% in September 2002 to 2.9% in September 2003) and Hot Springs County (down from 3.7% in September 2002 to 2.4% in September 2003).

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