© Copyright 2001 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Wyoming Unemployment Rate Edges Up in May

by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

"Job growth remained strong, as 4,700 jobs were created giving the state a growth rate of 1.9 percent "

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.4 percent in April to 3.6 percent in May, but remained below its May 2000 level of 4.0 percent. Job growth remained strong, as 4,700 jobs were created giving the state a growth rate of 1.9 percent. In contrast, U.S. job growth slowed to 0.4 percent in May.

Large employment gains were seen in Mining, Services and Retail Trade. Mining added 2,100 jobs or 12.7 percent when compared to May 2000. Mining gains were concentrated in oil & gas extraction, while employment in other areas of Mining was flat or down slightly. Services added 1,300 jobs or 2.4 percent, including 500 jobs in health services. Retail Trade was up 1,200 jobs or 2.6 percent, with especially strong growth in department stores (800 jobs or 21.1%). Wholesale Trade posted an unusually large gain of 400 jobs in May, an increase of 5.2 percent over the year. This gain may be related to increased oil and gas activity.

Job losses occurred in Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities in May. Employment fell by 200 jobs or 1.4 percent as a result of job cuts in communications. Government employment also fell when compared with May 2000. Approximately 700 jobs were lost as modest gains in State Government (200 jobs or 1.4%) and Local Government (100 jobs or 0.2%) were more than offset by losses in Federal Government (-1,000 jobs or 12.2%). The job losses in Federal Government were the result of temporary workers hired last year to conduct the 2000 Census.

The number of unemployed individuals fell from 9,635 in May 2000 to 8,710 in May 2001, a drop of 925 or 9.6 percent. This decline in unemployment is likely the result of strong job growth during the past several months. Unemployment rates fell significantly in several of Wyoming’s counties in May. Washakie County’s unemployment rate fell from 6.2 percent in May 2000 to 4.6 percent in May 2001. Big Horn County experienced a similar decrease from 5.4 percent to 3.9 percent.


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