Wyoming Employment Up Slightly in September
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.7 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September. It remains below its year ago level of 4.3 percent and the U.S. rate of 5.4 percent. Job growth continued at a moderate pace in Wyoming as 4,600 jobs (1.8%) were added on an over-the-year basis. U.S. job growth has been increasing in recent months and stood at 1.4 percent in September. However, comparisons between job growth in Wyoming and the U.S. must recognize that employment in Wyoming has grown steadily since 1988, while U.S. employment remains 940,000 jobs below its March 2001 peak.
From August to September, Wyoming lost 400 jobs or 0.2 percent. Normal seasonal job losses in Natural Resources & Mining (-400 jobs or -1.9%), Construction (-600 jobs or -2.8%), Retail Trade (-500 jobs or -1.6%), Professional & Business Services (-500 jobs or -3.1%), and Leisure & Hospitality (-2,400 jobs or -6.6%), were partially offset by job gains in Government (4,100 jobs or 6.8%). Most job gains in Government were related to the start of a new school year at public schools and colleges.
Increased oil & gas drilling activity resulted in large over-the-year job gains in Natural Resources & Mining (1,800 jobs or 9.5%). Other large gains were reported in Wholesale Trade (400 jobs or 5.7%), Transportation & Utilities (400 jobs or 3.4%), Financial Activities (500 jobs or 4.8%), Educational & Health Services (1,300 jobs or 6.3%), Leisure & Hospitality (700 jobs or 2.1%), and Government (1,100 jobs or 1.7%).
When compared to September 2003, employment fell by 1,200 jobs or 5.4 percent in Construction. There was an unusual amount of construction activity in Wyoming during the late summer of 2003, and September’s estimate indicates a return to more normal levels. Job losses also occurred in Professional & Business Services (-600 jobs or -3.7%) and Other Services (-100 jobs or -1.0%).
Around the state, most county unemployment rates increased slightly from their August levels. Laramie County’s unemployment rate increased from 3.9 percent in August to 4.4 percent in September, making it the highest rate in the state. Johnson County posted the lowest unemployment rate (1.3%).
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