© Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Wyoming Job Growth Slows Slightly in December
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming job growth slowed slightly from 2.2 percent (as revised) in November to 1.9 percent in December, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate crept up from 3.8 percent to 3.9 percent. In contrast, the U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 5.8 percent, its highest level in six years, and U.S. job growth was negative.

From November to December 2001, Wyoming employment fell by 600 jobs or 0.2 percent. Job gains in Services (1,000 jobs or 1.8%) were not large enough to offset decreases in Construction (-900 jobs or 5.0%) and oil & gas extraction (-400 jobs or 3.4%). Employment usually increases from November to December. In December 2000, approximately 200 jobs were gained, and in 1999, about 1,000 jobs were gained. Therefore, it appears that part of this year’s decrease is seasonal and part represents a real decline in economic activity.

However, when compared with December 2000, growth was seen across Wyoming’s economy. About 4,500 jobs were gained for a growth rate of 1.9 percent. The largest increases were in Mining (including oil & gas extraction), Services, Government, Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade. Within Mining, oil & gas extraction gained 1,400 jobs (13.9%) and coal mining gained 200 jobs (4.3%). Within Services, strong growth was seen in auto & miscellaneous repair services (300 jobs or 10.3%), health services (400 jobs or 3.6%), and private social services (500 jobs or 8.3%). The employment gain of 400 jobs (5.1%) percent in Wholesale Trade is likely the result of increased Mining activity in the state.

Employment fell by 200 jobs (1.7%) in Manufacturing, with about half the decrease in durable goods manufacturing and half in nondurable goods. Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities lost 100 jobs (0.7%). Within Retail Trade, food stores lost 400 jobs (7.3%) and eating & drinking places lost 300 jobs (1.8%).

As expected, most county unemployment rates increased from November to December. Fremont County had the largest increase, with unemployment growing from 4.7 percent in November to 5.9 percent in December. Crook County’s unemployment rate increased from 2.9 percent to 4.0 percent. The only county where unemployment decreased was Teton, with unemployment falling from 4.4 percent to 3.2 percent because of the start of the winter tourist season. Despite the seasonal increase in unemployment, county unemployment rates remained quite low in December. Only five counties had unemployment of 5.0 percent or higher (Lincoln, 6.2%; Fremont, 5.9%; Uinta, 5.3%; Carbon, 5.3%; and Park, 5.0%). Sublette County and Albany County shared the lowest unemployment rate, 2.0 percent.


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