© Copyright 2005 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning
Vol. 42 No. 7

Wyoming Unemployment Rises in May
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist


Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in April to 4.0% in May. It remained well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.1%. When compared to May 2004, the state’s labor force (the sum of all employed and unemployed individuals) grew at a moderate pace, increasing by 4,554 individuals (1.6%). Wyoming nonfarm employment continued to grow at a faster pace than the U.S. (2.1% in Wyoming compared to 1.5% in the U.S.).

From April to May, Wyoming added 7,000 jobs or 2.7% based on Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates. This level of over-the-month growth is consistent with normal seasonal patterns. Warmer weather allowed Construction to increase employment by 1,400 jobs or 7.5%. Accommodation & Food Services added 2,400 jobs (8.1%) because of the start of the summer tourist season. Other notable increases occurred in Retail Trade (700 jobs or 2.4%), Professional & Business Services (700 jobs or 4.6%), and Government (900 jobs or 1.4%). No major industries lost jobs from April to May.

From May 2004, nonfarm employment grew by 5,500 jobs, or 2.1%. Natural Resources & Mining (including oil & gas) added 2,200 jobs, or 11.3%. Other growing industries included Transportation, Warehousing, & Utilities (400 jobs or 3.4%), Professional & Business Services (500 jobs or 3.2%), Educational & Health Services (800 jobs or 3.8%), and Leisure & Hospitality (1,400 jobs or 4.6%). Employment fell slightly in Construction (-300 jobs or -1.5%), Manufacturing (-100 jobs or -1.1%) and Retail Trade (-100 jobs or -0.3%).

Across Wyoming’s 23 counties, unemployment rates remained fairly low in May. Fremont County posted the highest unemployment rate (4.8%), followed by Big Horn, Laramie, Platte, and Washakie counties (all 4.4%). The lowest unemployment rate was found in Sublette County (2.3%), followed by Campbell County (3.1%). From April to May, 13 counties saw their unemployment rates increase, 3 were unchanged, and 7 decreased. The largest decrease occurred in Teton County where unemployment fell from 4.9% in April to 3.7% in May.

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