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

March News
by: David Bullard, Economist

"Construction, aided by mild winter weather, showed a gain of 500 jobs ... "

Led by gains in Construction and business services, Wyoming’s economy produced 1,900 new jobs in March. This translates into an annual growth rate of 0.9 percent, a level of growth similar to the state’s experience for the past six months. The employment growth graphic shows that U.S. job growth has remained between 2.0 and 2.4 percent during this same period.

Business services, the industry which includes telemarketing firms, added 200 jobs over the month, for an increase of 700 jobs or 12.1 percent over the year. Construction, aided by mild winter weather, showed a gain of 500 jobs or 3.8 percent over March 1998.

Once again, the largest job losses occurred in the Mining sector. Over-the-year comparisons show a loss of 600 jobs or 3.6 percent. Coal mining employment is flat, oil & gas extraction is down by 400 jobs (-4.7%) and nonmetallic minerals (including trona) is down 200 jobs (-6.3%). Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims also indicate relatively large job losses in Mining. Continued claims in Mining were up 79.5 percent over the year.

Despite comparatively slow job growth and a troubled Mining industry, unemployment data were positive. The unemployment rate fell from 5.9 percent in February to 5.4 percent in March. Civilian labor force increased by 4,166 individuals or 1.6 percent. The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) annual averages show that labor force increased in all 23 counties in 1998, and the unemployment rate fell in 14 counties.

Initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims were down 22.4 percent over the year (see page 10). The largest drops in claims were in Construction (down 30.4%), Services (down 21.6%) and Trade (down 16.5%). Continued claims were down 2.3 percent. Practically all of the industries, except Mining, had decreases in continued claims.

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