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

May News
by: David Bullard, Economist

"Despite large gains in employment over the month, Wyoming’s annual growth rate remains slow."

Warmer weather and the start of the tourist season brought large over-the-month employment gains to Wyoming in May. Nonagricultural employment, as measured by the establishment survey, increased by 9,400 jobs or 4.2 percent from April to May. This large increase in employment was associated with a decrease in the unemployment rate and the number of Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims (initial and continued).

The largest over-the-month employment gains were in Construction (up 2,500 jobs or 16.4%), Retail Trade (up 2,200 jobs or 5.1%) and Hotels and other Lodging Places (up 2,000 jobs or 28.2%). Eating and Drinking Places added 900 jobs (+5.7%) and Business Services was up 500 jobs or (+7.6% ).

Mining added 400 (+2.5%) jobs from April to May but remained below its May 1998 level of 16,800 jobs (down 200 jobs or -1.2% over the year). Mining UI Claims continued to show large increases when compared with 1998 data. There were 2,122 Mining claims in May 1999 compared to 1,237 claims in May 1998, an increase of 71.5 percent.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell from 4.8 to 4.5 percent in May. It remained above the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.0 percent. Civilian labor force grew by 4,101 individuals or 1.6 percent in May.

Despite large gains in employment over the month, Wyoming’s annual growth rate remains slow. In over-the-year comparisons, Wyoming's employment increased by 1,200 jobs or 0.5 percent. In contrast, employment growth in the U.S. has been averaging above two percent for the past few years.

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