© Copyright 2002 by the Wyoming Department of Employment, Research & Planning

Wyoming Unemployment Falls in August
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.7 percent in July to 3.6 percent in August. The U.S. unemployment rate also fell, but at 5.7 percent remained well above Wyoming’s rate. Wyoming job growth, measured on an over-the-year basis, was 0.7 percent in August. The U.S. continued to lose jobs in over-the-year comparisons (-0.9%). 

From July to August 2002, Wyoming gained 1,700 jobs or 0.7 percent of employment, mostly because of strong gains in Construction (800 jobs or 4.0%), Government (600 jobs or 1.0%), and Mining (200 jobs or 1.0%). 

When compared to August 2001, Wyoming added 1,700 jobs or 0.7 percent. Job growth in Services (1,400 jobs or 2.2%) and Government (1,200 jobs or 2.1%) was partially offset by job losses in Mining (-600 jobs or 2.9%), Manufacturing (-500 jobs or 4.5%), and Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (-200 jobs or 1.4%). Within Mining, coal mining grew by 200 jobs or 4.1 percent, but employment in every other area of Mining (including oil & gas) remained below year-ago levels. Within Services, growth was particularly strong in health services (300 jobs or 2.6%) and engineering & management services (400 jobs or 8.9%). All levels of Government gained jobs when compared to August 2001. Federal Government added 200 jobs or 2.5 percent, State Government added 400 jobs or 3.0 percent, and Local Government (including public schools and hospitals) added 600 jobs or 1.6 percent. 

From July to August 2002, unemployment rates were stable or decreased in 16 of Wyoming’s 23 counties. The largest over-the-month decrease occurred in Sweetwater County where unemployment fell from 4.4 percent to 3.8 percent. Fremont County (down from 4.9% to 4.5%), Uinta County (down from 5.1% to 4.6%), and Washakie County (down from 4.3% to 3.9%) also posted significant declines. 

When compared to a year ago, unemployment decreased in a majority of Wyoming counties. Weston County posted the largest decrease, with unemployment falling from 3.5 percent in August 2001 to 2.4 percent in August 2002. Unemployment also fell significantly in Fremont, Sweetwater, Park, and Carbon counties. The largest over-the-year increase occurred in Platte County (up from 3.4% to 3.7%).

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