© Copyright 2003 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Wyoming's Labor Market in 2002

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

data prepared by: David Bullard, Senior Economist and Brad Payne , Economist


"[In 2002,] job growth, which had averaged over 2.0 percent annually from 1999 to 2001, slowed to 0.9 percent, its lowest level since 1996."

During 2002, economic growth slowed in Wyoming. The unemployment rate crept up from 3.9 percent to 4.2 percent and labor force (the sum of all employed and unemployed individuals) fell slightly. Job growth, which had averaged over 2.0 percent annually from 1999 to 2001, slowed to 0.9 percent, its lowest level since 1996. However, both of Wyoming’s metropolitan areas (Natrona County and Laramie County) grew much faster than the statewide average. 

Current Employment Statistics

Wyoming total nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased from 245,400 jobs in 2001 to 247,500 jobs in 2002 (see Tables 1 and 2). This represents an increase of 2,100 jobs or 0.9 percent. Job gains were spread across many industries, but the strongest growth was seen in Construction (500 jobs), Financial Activities (500 jobs), Education & Health Services (600 jobs), Leisure & Hospitality (600 jobs), and Government (1,000 jobs). Within Government, State Government added 400 jobs. Local Government, which includes public schools added, 500 jobs.

Only a few industries suffered job losses in 2002, including Natural Resources & Mining (down 400 jobs), Manufacturing (down 500 jobs), Retail Trade (down 200 jobs), and Transportation & Warehousing (down 200 jobs). However, even within these broad sectors, some industries grew. For example, within Mining, coal mining added 500 jobs, while support activities for mining lost 600 jobs. Within Retail Trade, building materials & garden supplies dealers grew rapidly, adding 400 jobs, but other areas of Retail Trade, especially grocery stores and gasoline stations, lost jobs (200 jobs and 300 jobs, respectively). In Manufacturing, four-fifths of the job losses occurred in non-durable goods manufacturing.

During 2002, Natrona County added 800 jobs (see Tables 3 and 4) giving it a growth rate of 2.4 percent. In the goods-producing sector, Natrona County followed the statewide pattern, losing jobs in Natural Resources & Mining (down 200 jobs), gaining jobs in Construction (200 jobs), and losing jobs in Manufacturing (down 100 jobs). In the service-providing sector, Natrona County added jobs in Retail Trade (200 jobs), Financial Activities (400 jobs), and Educational & Health Services (200 jobs). Government employment remained unchanged from 2001.

Employment in Laramie County grew by 4.0 percent (or 1,500 jobs) during 2002 (see Tables 5 and 6). The largest job gains were in Professional & Business Services (500 jobs), Leisure & Hospitality (500 jobs), Educational & Health Services (300 jobs), and Retail Trade (200 jobs). Modest job losses were seen in Manufacturing (down 100 jobs), Other Services (down 300 jobs), and Local Government (down 100 jobs).

Local Area Unemployment Statistics

At the statewide level, the labor force decreased from 2001 to 2002 (-2,118 individuals or -0.8%), while unemployment increased slightly (633 individuals or 5.9%). Table 7 shows that the labor force decreased in 17 Wyoming counties. However, six counties (Campbell, Johnson, Laramie, Sheridan, Sublette, and Uinta) bucked the statewide trend and saw growth in labor force from 2001 to 2002.

The statewide unemployment rate increased from 3.9 percent in 2001 to 4.2 percent in 2002. The unemployment rate also increased in 17 Wyoming counties. It was unchanged in Albany County (2.0% in both 2001 and 2002). The unemployment rate decreased in Crook County (down from 3.8% to 3.7%), Fremont County (down from 6.4% to 6.2%), Johnson County (down from 3.1% to 2.8%), Sheridan County (down from 4.0% to 3.9%), and Weston County (down from 4.3% to 3.8%).

Albany County posted the lowest unemployment rate (2.0%) in 2002. It was followed by Sublette County (2.6%) and Johnson County (2.8%). In 2002, Fremont County and Lincoln County recorded the highest unemployment rates (both 6.2%). 

In 2001 Albany County had the lowest unemployment rate (2.0%), followed by Sublette County (2.1%) and Teton County (2.3%). Fremont County (6.4%) reported the highest 2001 unemployment rate.

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