Wyoming Unemployment Falls in
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.1 percent in March to 4.0 percent in April. U.S. unemployment rose to 6.0 percent in April, a full two percentage points higher than Wyoming. Nonagricultural employment in Wyoming continued to grow at a very slow pace, adding 700 jobs (0.3%) when compared to April 2002. U.S. nonagricultural employment remained below year-ago levels (-330,000 jobs or -0.3%).
From March to April 2003, Wyoming added 2,500 jobs or 1.0 percent. This level of over-the-month growth is consistent with seasonal patterns seen in previous years. As expected, Construction added 1,500 jobs (8.5%), Retail Trade added 300 jobs (1.0%) and Professional & Business Services added 400 jobs (2.7%). No industries experienced significant job losses from March to April.
Wyoming nonagricultural employment grew by 700 jobs or 0.3 percent when compared to April 2002. During the past six months, over-the-year job growth has ranged from 0.0 to 0.6 percent. Job losses occurred in Natural Resources & Mining
(-300 jobs or -1.7%), Manufacturing (-300 jobs or -3.3%), and Transportation & Utilities (-300 jobs or -2.7%). Substantial job gains were reported in Financial Activities (300 jobs or 3.1%), Educational & Health Services (300 jobs or 1.5%), and Government (1,400 jobs or 2.2%). According to April estimates, Federal Government added 300 jobs (4.4%), State Government added 200 jobs (1.4%) and Local Government (including schools and hospitals) added 900 jobs (2.2%). Construction employment was unchanged from April 2002.
According to information provided by the U.S. Department of Defense for April, a total of 440 military reservists from Wyoming had been called into active duty. In concept, persons on active military duty for the entire survey reference period are not included on employer payrolls. To the extent that Wyoming employers do not replace these reservists with new workers, payroll counts will be lower than normal. Consequently, overall payroll job growth of 0.3 percent may have been constrained.
Lincoln County posted the highest unemployment rate in April (6.5%). It was followed closely by Teton County (6.2%) and Fremont County (6.1%). Teton County's unemployment rate follows a different seasonal pattern from the rest of Wyoming's counties, and usually peaks in April and November. Albany County recorded the lowest unemployment rate in April (1.7%). From March to April, unemployment rates fell in every county except Teton, which increased from 4.0 percent to 6.2 percent. From April 2002 to April 2003, unemployment rates fell in 19 of Wyoming's 23 counties. The largest decreases occurred in the Northwest region of the state (especially Hot Springs, Washakie, Big Horn, and Park counties).
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