© Copyright 1999 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

February News
by: David Bullard, Economist

"The February estimates show a loss of 700 Mining jobs (-4.1%) over the year."

Nonagricultural employment in Wyoming continues to grow slowly. The February estimate of 220,000 jobs shows an increase of 2,100 jobs or 1.0 percent over last year. The January estimate was revised upward by 400 jobs and showed a similar 1.0 percent increase over the year. Most of the new jobs came from the service producing sectors of the economy while the goods producing sector had mixed results. As seen in the graphic, U.S. nonagricultural employment has been showing healthy growth of over 2.0 percent per year, while Wyoming has lagged behind the past several months.

Business services, which includes telemarketing firms, temporary employment agencies, computer services and a number of other service businesses, added 600 jobs over the year for a 10.5 percent growth rate. Social services grew at 5.7 percent over the year to add 300 new jobs. Construction, while down slightly from January, increased by 500 jobs (or 3.9%) over February 1998.

It appears that low oil prices and economic troubles in Asia may have resulted in job losses in Wyoming’s Mining industry. The February estimates show a loss of 700 Mining jobs (-4.1%) over the year. The largest losses were in oil & gas extraction which was down 400 jobs or 4.6 percent. Nonmetallic mineral mining, the industry which includes trona mining, lost 200 jobs (-6.3%).

The unemployment rate in Wyoming held steady at 5.9 percent in February while the U.S. rate fell a percentage point to 4.7 percent (not seasonally adjusted). Wyoming civilian labor force grew 2.1 percent over the year. Continued unemployment Insurance (UI) claims remained slightly above their 1998 levels due to the large number of claimants from the Mining industry.

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