© Copyright 2006 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning


Vol. 43 No. 9

Occupational Employment Changes in Wyoming’s Five Fastest Growing Industries, June 2005 – June 2006

by: Douglas W. Leonard, Senior Research Analyst

and David Bullard, Senior Economist

This article examines how occupation-level employment changed in Wyoming’s five fastest growing industries from June 2005 to June 2006. The data indicate that the majority of jobs created in those industries during the last year do not require any formal postsecondary training. In addition, wage competition for some types of workers may be increasing among industries utilizing the same or similar skill sets for certain occupations.

Economic expansion is typically associated with increased employment and wages. Labor demand exceeds labor supply when upward pressure is placed on wages and employers have to pay more to compete for workers. To better understand industry occupational distributions, Research & Planning (R&P) developed a Customized Staffing Pattern tool (Glover, 2001). The staffing pattern methodology was subsequently revised in 2006 and updated with the most recent data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey. To illustrate occupational demand in the five industries which experienced the fastest job growth from June 2005 to June 2006, we combined staffing pattern information with data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. The educational requirements for the added positions also were analyzed.

Methodology and Data Sets Used

The data sources used in the computation of occupational demand included the CES and OES surveys. OES data from the May and November 2005 panels were used to compile the customized staffing pattern. Data are adjusted using an algorithm developed by R&P to protect confidential data from disclosure. Staffing pattern data were then combined with CES data for the five 3-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries with the greatest percentage change in employment between June 2005 and June 2006. Each industry’s job growth during the past year was proportioned by occupation according to the percentages in the staffing pattern to produce the results.


According to CES, the five industries with the highest growth rates at the 3-digit NAICS level from June 2005 to June 2006 were support activities for mining (15.3%, 1,700 jobs); heavy & civil engineering construction (11.7%, 700 jobs); merchant wholesalers, durable goods (10.6%, 500 jobs); repair & maintenance (9.7%, 300 jobs); and mining excluding oil & gas (8.9%, 700 jobs). The listed industries accounted for 42.4% of the statewide jobs added during the study period (Bullard, 2005). For the sake of brevity, only the occupational results table for support activities for mining is shown in this article. The occupation tables for the remaining industries are located online at http://www.doe.state.wy.us/LMI/.

Table 1 shows the expected occupational distribution of jobs added in support activities for mining. The list was trimmed to the top 25 occupations by the number of positions added. Extraction workers, roustabouts, derrick operators, and service unit operators accounted for 38.5% of the 1,700 jobs added in the industry from June 2005 to June 2006. Table 1 also shows that the top 25 occupations in the industry by number of jobs added accounted for 86.1% of industry job growth. The difference between the actual industry job growth (1,700) and the job growth shown in Table 1 (1,691) is due to rounding.

Analysis of education and training requirements is useful because these can vary greatly by occupation. The Figure shows that of the jobs added during the reference period, 78.0% required on-the-job training and 13.6% required postsecondary training. Approximately 1 in 12 jobs added in these industries required a college degree.

When multiple industries employ the same occupations to produce goods and services, competition for labor increases and, in theory, so do wages. Table 2 illustrates this concept with the 19 occupations which matched across the five fastest growing industries. The shaded cells of the table indicate which industry paid the greatest wages for a matched occupation. In all cases except two, mining excluding oil & gas had the highest wages. The remaining two occupations had their highest wages in support activities for mining. The competition for similarly skilled workers across industries was examined previously by Harris (2005) and showed similar results when comparing different occupations which utilize similar skill sets. Using the staffing pattern, employers can analyze competition for workers in addition to understanding compensation differentials between industries during times of expansion or contraction.


The current economic expansion provides a unique opportunity to study not only which industries experience growth, but also which occupations experience growth. Staffing pattern data can be used to better understand competition for labor in similar or the same occupations. It appears that the expansion from June 2005 to June 2006 in the five industries with the highest growth rate provide substantial additional opportunities for workers seeking on-the-job training. How this will affect Wyoming’s ability to retain workers with postsecondary degrees is uncertain.


Bullard, D. (2006). Covered employment and wages for third quarter 2005: double-digit growth in total payroll. Wyoming Labor Force Trends 43(2). Retrieved July 24, 2006 from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/0206/a2.htm

United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). Table QT-P20. Educational Attainment by Sex: 2000. Retrieved July 14, 2006, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US56&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_QTP20&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U

Glover, T. (2001). The Matrix: Customized industrial and occupational staffing patterns & wages. Retrieved July 24, 2006 from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/staffing/staffing.htm

Harris, M. (2005). Examples of associated indirect occupational overlap. Wyoming Labor Force Trends 42(12). Retrieved July 24, 2006 from http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/1205/a2.html

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