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

Identifying Wyoming's Oil & Gas Dependent Counties
by: David Bullard , Economist

"Firms whose primary activity is operating oil & gas wells, exploring for oil & gas, or providing oil & gas field services are included in SIC 13, Mining - oil & gas extraction."

The worldwide decline in oil prices has been in the news frequently during the past year. While some have suggested that this implies economic decline for Wyoming, as a state dependent on extractive industries, the effect will be felt differently in different areas of the state. Which of Wyoming’s counties are most dependent on oil & gas related employment? This analysis uses Covered Employment and Wages program data (also known as ES-202) which comes from reports that employers file when they pay unemployment insurance.

Oil & gas field operations support employment in many industries. Firms whose primary activity is operating oil & gas wells, exploring for oil & gas, or providing oil & gas field services are included in SIC 13, Mining - oil & gas extraction. But many employers in other industries such as Wholesale Trade and Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities (TCPU) depend on business from oil & gas service companies. This article only looks at SIC 13, where firms whose primary business is oil & gas are included.

The Table ranks the counties by their dependence on oil & gas employment. The column titled "Oil & Gas Extraction Employment" is the covered employment in SIC 13 in that county. The next column is the total covered employment. Finally, the last column is the percentage of employment within SIC 13. In five counties, employment in SIC 13 is non disclosable because of confidentiality restrictions on the release of data where there are fewer than three employers or where one employer accounts for 80 percent of the employment within that industry. In one of these cases, Big Horn County, Mining employment less SIC 14 was used. In Sheridan County, all of Mining employment was used. This may overstate the oil & gas employment in these two counties. In three other cases (Teton, Platte and Goshen Counties) the Mining industry employment was non disclosable, so SIC 13 employment was estimated to be zero, possibly understating oil & gas employment.

The Map shows which counties are "Highly dependent" (>5.0%), "Moderately dependent" (>1.0%) and "Not dependent" (<1.0%) on oil & gas employment. All but one of the counties in the Southeast Region are not dependent on oil & gas employment. This may be a partial explanation as to why this region consistently has lower unemployment than the rest of the state.

Careful readers may wonder why total employment in Sublette County increased 3.3 percent during the first quarter (see Table 3), when it was ranked the county most dependent on oil & gas employment (see Table). Sublette County is home to four major gas fields and may be more dependent on natural gas than oil. Since gas prices haven't fallen dramatically like oil prices during the past year, we don't expect the large job losses seen in oil production.

Table of Contents | Labor Market Information | Employment Resources | Send Us Mail

These pages designed by Gayle C. Edlin.
Last modified on by Valerie A. Davis.