September 2009

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Labor Market Information


Job Losses Continue in July; Unemployment Reaches 6.5%

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted1 unemployment rate increased from 5.9% in June to 6.5% in July, its highest level since March 1989. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased from 9.5% in June to 9.4% in July, but remained much higher than its July 2008 level of 5.8%. Job losses continued in Wyoming as employment decreased by 8,900 jobs, or 2.9% from July 2008 to July 2009. An estimated 17,624 individuals were unemployed in Wyoming in July 2009, compared to 8,518 in July 2008.

Over the year Wyoming lost 8,900 jobs, or 2.9%. Job gains were seen in a few sectors, including wholesale trade (200 jobs, or 2.2%), educational & health services (700 jobs, or 2.9%), and government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals; 1,500 jobs, or 2.3%). Employment remained below year-ago levels in natural resources & mining (including oil & gas; -4,200 jobs, or -14.1%), construction (-4,400 jobs, or -14.4%), retail trade (-600 jobs, or -1.8%), professional & business services (-800 jobs, or -4.1%), and leisure & hospitality (-800 jobs, or -2.0%).

From June to July employment decreased by 2,800 jobs, or 0.9%. This level of decrease is consistent with normal over-the-month seasonal patterns. Seasonal job gains in construction (300 jobs, or 1.2%), retail trade (500 jobs, or 1.6%), professional & business services (300 jobs, or 1.6%), educational & health services (200 jobs, or 0.8%), and leisure & hospitality (2,000 jobs, or 5.3%) were more than offset by job losses in government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals; -6,400 jobs, or -8.8%). Government job losses were primarily the result of public schools closing for the summer.

Across Wyoming’s 23 counties, most unemployment rates increased slightly from June to July. The highest rates were found in Big Horn (7.9%), Fremont (7.7%), and Lincoln (7.1%) counties. Teton and Albany counties posted the lowest unemployment rates (4.3%), followed by Park and Sublette counties (both 4.7%). In every county unemployment rates were higher than their July 2008 levels.

1 Seasonal adjustment is a statistical procedure to remove the impact of normal regularly recurring events (such as weather, major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools) from economic time series in order to obtain a better understanding of changes in economic conditions from month to month.

Last modified by Phil Ellsworth.