Wyoming Unemployment Falls in
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.3 percent in June to 3.7 percent in July. In contrast, U.S. unemployment was unchanged at 5.9 percent. Wyoming job growth, measured on an over-the-year basis, was 0.7 percent in July. The U.S. continued to lose jobs in over-the-year comparisons (-1.0%).
From June to July 2002, Wyoming lost 3,800 jobs or 1.5 percent of employment. It is normal for employment to fall from June to July as schools close for the summer. This year’s decline is slightly smaller than last year’s (-3,900 jobs). Employment in Government, including public schools and hospitals, fell by 5,600 jobs, while Retail Trade increased by 900 jobs, Services increased by 500 jobs, and Mining increased by 200 jobs.
When compared to July 2001, Wyoming added 1,800 jobs or 0.7 percent. Job gains in Wholesale Trade (400 jobs or 4.9%), Services (1,500 jobs or 2.4%), and Government (1,100 jobs or 1.9%) were partially offset by losses in Mining (-700 jobs or -3.4%), Construction (-200 or -1.0%), and Manufacturing (-300 or -2.7%). Within Mining, gains in coal mining (200 jobs or 4.2%) were overshadowed by significant job losses in oil & gas extraction (-800 jobs or -6.4%). Within Services, significant gains appeared in health services (300 jobs or 2.6%), private social services (200 jobs or 3.1%), and engineering & management services (300 jobs or 6.7%).
The decrease in unemployment from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent brought with it a declining labor force. Labor force (the sum of all employed and unemployed individuals in the state) fell from July 2001 (-951 or -0.3%). July marks the first time labor force has contracted (in over-the-year comparisons) since 1998.
As expected, unemployment fell from June to July in all 23 of Wyoming’s counties. Five counties (Washakie, Weston, Lincoln, Uinta, and Hot Springs) experienced a decrease of one percentage point or more.
From July 2001, unemployment decreased in a majority of counties. Fremont County experienced the largest decrease, where unemployment fell from 6.0 percent to 4.9 percent.
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