© Copyright 2007 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 44 No. 6

Wyoming Job Growth Slows Slightly in April

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Since its recent peak at 5.4% in June 2006, Wyoming’s over-the-year job growth rate slowed to 3.4% in April 2007. It appears that the slight slowdown in job growth may be related to lower natural gas prices and decreased drilling activity in the state. It also is possible that a tight labor supply may be holding down job growth. Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 2.6% in March to 2.9% in April (not a statistically significant change). It remained below the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.5%.

From March to April, Wyoming added 1,000 jobs (0.4%). This is somewhat less than the average March to April increase in the last 5 years (2,920 jobs), suggesting a slight slowdown in job growth. Although Construction added 1,100 jobs in April 2007, it added 2,000 in April 2006. Seasonal job gains also appeared in Natural Resources & Mining (200 jobs or 0.7%), Transportation & Utilities (200 jobs or 1.4%), and Professional & Business Services (200 jobs or 1.2%). Seasonal job losses were seen in Retail Trade (-300 jobs or -1.0%), Leisure & Hospitality (-300 jobs or -1.0%), and Government (-400 jobs or - 0.6%).

Over the year Wyoming gained 9,100 jobs or 3.4%. Natural Resources & Mining (including oil & gas) added the most jobs (1,700 jobs or 6.6%) followed by Construction (1,400 jobs or 6.2%). Strong growth also was seen in Wholesale Trade (700 jobs or 8.8%); Transportation, Warehousing, & Utilities (900 jobs or 6.8%); and Professional & Business Services (700 jobs or 4.2%).

Fremont County posted the highest unemployment rate in April (4.3%) followed by Big Horn County (4.2%) and Washakie County (4.1%). The lowest unemployment rates were found in Sublette (1.7%), Campbell (2.2%), and Sweetwater (2.3%) counties. When compared to April 2006, county unemployment rates were mixed. Unemployment increased in 7 counties, fell in 12 counties, and was unchanged in 4 counties.