Wyoming Unemployment Falls to 2.9 Percent in February
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.4 percent in January to 2.9 percent in February. It remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.4 percent. Despite falling unemployment, Wyoming’s civilian labor force (the sum of all employed and unemployed individuals) grew at a modest pace, increasing by 2,895 people or 1.0 percent from its February 2004 level. The overall growth in Wyoming’s economy appears to be related to relatively high energy prices, and has led to job gains in the Natural Resources & Mining sector.
From January to February, Wyoming gained 300 jobs (0.1%). Seasonal job losses in Manufacturing (-400 jobs or -4.1%) were more than offset by gains in Educational & Health Services (300 jobs or 1.4%), Leisure & Hospitality (300 jobs or 1.0%), and Government (500 jobs or 0.8%).
Employment rose by 5,900 jobs or 2.4 percent when compared to February 2004. Natural Resources & Mining (including oil & gas) continued to grow at a rapid pace, adding 2,600 jobs or 13.7 percent. Other growing sectors included Manufacturing (300 jobs or 3.3%), Wholesale Trade (200 jobs or 2.8%), Retail Trade (200 jobs or 0.7%), Transportation & Utilities (200 jobs or 1.7%), Financial Activities (200 jobs or 2.0%), Educational & Health Services (900 jobs or 4.3%), and Leisure & Hospitality (800 jobs or 2.8%). No major sectors lost jobs when compared with February 2004 employment levels.
Across Wyoming’s 23 counties, almost all unemployment rates decreased from January to February. Big Horn County posted the highest unemployment rate in February (5.4%) and it was followed closely by Platte (5.3%) and Fremont (5.1%) counties. Sublette County had the lowest unemployment rate (2.1%), followed by Campbell (2.7%) and Albany (2.8%) counties.
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