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

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) Annual Averages
by: David Bullard, Economist

"From 1997 to 1998, labor force increased in all 23 of Wyoming's counties."

The Table presents the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) annual average data for 1996-1998. During the first quarter of the calendar year, data from the three previous years are "benchmarked" or updated using newly available data. The complete series is available on the Internet at http://lmi.state.wy.us/laus/toc.htm.

Figure 1 shows annual average unemployment rates for Wyoming and the United States (see "Statewide Unemployment Rate" for a graphic representation of monthly unemployment rates). While the U.S. experienced a recession earlier in the decade and unemployment soared above seven percent, Wyoming's unemployment rate has stayed low from 1990 to 1998. In the 1990's, the Wyoming unemployment rate peaked in 1992 at 5.7 percent, and its lowest level was 4.8 percent in both 1995 and 1998. Only in 1997 and 1998 was the U.S. unemployment rate below Wyoming's. However, in the past three years, Wyoming's unemployment rate has not been significantly different from the U.S. rate.

Wyoming's labor force is shown in Figure 2. Labor force is defined as the number of individuals either working or available and looking for work (i.e., the sum of the employed and unemployed). Labor force grew rapidly from 1991 to 1995, was almost flat between 1995 and 1996, and then fell in 1997. In 1998, labor force again grew rapidly and more than made up all of its losses during 1997.

County Labor Force and Unemployment Trends

From 1997 to 1998, labor force increased in all 23 of Wyoming's counties. The largest increases were in Laramie (+845 or 2.2%), Sweetwater (+799 or 3.9%), Natrona (+781 or 2.4%) and Campbell Counties (+640 or 3.5%).

In 1998, the unemployment rate decreased in 14 counties including the two metropolitan areas, Casper and Cheyenne. Large decreases in the unemployment rate occurred in Converse (down 0.9%), Weston (down 0.8%), Uinta (down 0.6%) and Natrona Counties (down 0.5%).

Large increases in the unemployment rate occurred in Niobrara (up 0.7%), Platte (up 0.6%), Crook (up 0.5%) and Big Horn Counties (up 0.5%).

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