The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported that the state’s seasonally adjusted1 unemployment rate rose from 4.0% in February to 4.1% in March (not a statistically significant change). Wyoming’s unemployment rate was slightly lower than its March 2014 level of 4.2% and significantly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5%. Seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased very slightly, rising by an estimated 439 individuals (0.1%) from February to March.
From February to March, most county unemployment rates increased. A contributing factor to the rising unemployment rates was job losses in the oil & gas sector as evidenced by claims for unemployment insurance. The largest unemployment rate increases were seen in Big Horn (up from 5.0% to 5.7%), Natrona (up from 4.4% to 5.0%), Converse (up from 3.6% to 4.0%), and Uinta (up from 5.3% to 5.7%) counties. Unemployment rates fell in Niobrara (down from 3.3% to 3.0%), Platte (down from 4.7% to 4.5%), Sheridan (down from 5.2% to 5.1%), Lincoln (down from 6.3% to 6.2%), and Crook (down from 4.5% to 4.4%) counties.
From March 2014 to March 2015, unemployment rates rose in 12 counties and fell in 10 counties. Big Horn County’s unemployment rate was unchanged from a year earlier at 5.7%. The largest increases occurred in in Converse (up from 3.3% to 4.0%), Sublette (up from 5.2% to 5.9%), Sweetwater (up from 4.4% to 5.1%), and Weston (up from 3.5% to 4.1%) counties. The largest decreases were seen in Teton (down from 4.6% to 3.9%), Niobrara (down from 3.7% to 3.0%), Sheridan (down from 5.6% to 5.1%), and Goshen (down from 4.1% to 3.6%) counties.
Fremont and Lincoln counties reported the highest unemployment rates in March (both 6.2%). They were followed by Johnson (6.1%) and Sublette (5.9%) counties. The lowest unemployment rates were found in Niobrara (3.0%), Albany (3.5%), and Goshen (3.6%) counties.
Total nonfarm employment (measured by place of work) rose from 284,400 in March 2014 to 287,300 in March 2015, a gain of 2,900 jobs (1.0%).
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.