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

Wyoming Unemployment Declines in October
by: David Bullard, Senior Economist

Wyoming's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.0 percent in September to 3.8 percent in October (not a statistically significant decrease). The U.S. unemployment rate jumped sharply from 4.9 percent in September to 5.4 percent in October while U.S. job growth fell into negative territory.

Wyoming nonagricultural employment fell slightly from September to October, a decrease of 900 jobs or -0.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted). This seasonal decline is seen most years. In October 2000, employment fell 2,100 jobs and in 1999 it fell 3,100 jobs. The largest over-the-month decreases were in hotels & other lodging places (-2,200 jobs or -20.4%) and eating & drinking places (-600 jobs or -3.2%), reflecting a seasonal decline in tourist activity. These employment declines were partially offset by seasonal job gains in local education (2,100 jobs or 9.8%).

Compared to October 2000, Wyoming nonagricultural employment increased by 6,800 jobs or 2.8 percent. Mining (including oil & gas extraction) gained 2,300 jobs or 12.9 percent when compared to October 2000. Other large over-the-year increases were seen in Services (1,700 jobs or 3.1%) and Retail Trade (1,200 jobs or 2.5%). Within Services, strong growth was seen in auto & miscellaneous repair services, health services, private social services, and engineering & management services. Employment in Wholesale Trade increased by 400 jobs or 5.1 percent.

Employment decreased in Transportation, Communications, & Public Utilities by 500 jobs or 3.5 percent when compared with October 2000. The largest job losses occurred in railroad transportation (-300 jobs or -9.1%) and electric, gas, & sanitary services (-200 jobs or -7.1%).

Across Wyoming's counties, unemployment rates remained low in October. Uinta County's unemployment rate was the highest in the state (5.0%) and it was followed by Lincoln County (4.9%) and Fremont County (4.5%). The lowest unemployment rates were found in Albany County (1.6%), Niobrara County (1.6%) and Sublette County (1.9%). When compared to October 2000, three counties experienced large increases in unemployment. Johnson County's unemployment rate increased from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent largely because of layoffs in Construction. Lincoln County's unemployment increased from 3.9 percent to 4.9 percent as a result of job losses in Manufacturing. Teton County's unemployment rate rose from 1.4 percent in 2000 to 2.2 percent in October 2001.

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