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

August News
by: David Bullard, Economist

"August is the third straight month of employment gains exceeding one percent."

Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in August, below its July level of 4.1 percent and its August 1998 level of 4.0 percent. It remained below the national average of 4.2 percent for the second month in a row. Nonagricultural employment increased by 2,700 jobs in August for a growth rate of 1.2 percent. July estimates were revised upward by 700 jobs for an even higher growth rate of 1.5 percent. August is the third straight month of employment gains exceeding one percent. However, as seen in the Figure, Wyoming continues to lag behind the national employment growth of around 2.2 percent.

As in past months, many of the new jobs were concentrated in Construction and Services. Growth was especially strong in Heavy Construction, the industry which includes highway construction, with employers adding 400 jobs over the year (7.3%). Within Services, Hotels and Other Lodging Places added 400 jobs (3.0%), suggesting growth in Wyoming’s tourist industry. Business Services, the industry which includes telemarketing firms, temporary staffing services and computer related services increased employment by 5.6 percent or 400 jobs. Manufacturing added 300 jobs for growth of 2.7 percent.

Despite last month’s positive report, it now appears that job losses in the Mining industry haven’t slowed. August estimates show employment in Oil & Gas Extraction down by 600 jobs or -6.7 percent. However, Coal Mining employment increased by 100 jobs (+2.2%) over the same period.

Employment in Wyoming’s largest cities, Cheyenne and Casper, grew faster than the state as a whole. Cheyenne added 800 jobs (+2.2%), while employment in Casper was up 900 jobs or 2.9 percent. Growth in these two metropolitan areas appears to follow the statewide pattern with large job gains in Services and Construction.

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