Wyoming Job Growth Slows in December 2008
Wyoming’s over-the-year job growth rate slowed from 2.9% in November to 2.2% in December. The state’s job growth rate has been steadily decreasing from its peak in June 2006 (5.6%). U.S. nonfarm employment has fallen by 2.8 million jobs (-2.0%) since December 2007. Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 3.2% in November to 3.4% in December (not a statistically significant change), but remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.2%
From November to December, Wyoming lost 1,500 jobs (0.5%). The normal seasonal pattern is for employment to increase by approximately 1,100 jobs from November to December. Job losses in the construction sector (-2,200 jobs, or -7.9%) were somewhat greater than average for December. Seasonal job losses were also seen in manufacturing (-100 jobs, or -1.0%), professional & business services (-300 jobs, or -1.6%), and educational & health services (-600 jobs, or -2.4%). Employment increased in leisure & hospitality (1,100 jobs, or 3.5%).
Compared to a year earlier, Wyoming added 6,400 jobs (2.2%). Government (including public schools, colleges, and hospitals) added 2,200 jobs (3.2%) and natural resources & mining (including oil & gas) added 2,000 jobs (7.3%). Other job gains were noted in retail trade (700 jobs, or 2.2%), professional & business services (600 jobs, or 3.4%), educational & health services (600 jobs, or 2.5%), and leisure & hospitality (400 jobs, or 1.3%). Employment fell below its year-ago levels in construction (-400 jobs, or -1.5%) and manufacturing (-200 jobs, or -1.9%) and was unchanged in information and transportation, warehousing, & utilities.
Across Wyoming’s 23 counties, unemployment rates remained relatively low. Lincoln County posted the highest unemployment rate (4.9%) in December, followed by Platte (4.8%) and Fremont (4.7%) counties. Most unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased from November to December. Campbell County and Sublette County tied for the lowest unemployment rate (2.1%) in December, followed by Albany County (2.5%) and Sweetwater County (2.8%).