December 2009

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Labor Market Information


Wyoming Unemployment Rate Increases to 7.4% in October

The Research & Planning Section of the Wyoming Department of Employment has reported that the state’s seasonally adjusted1 unemployment rate increased from 6.8% in September to 7.4% in October. Despite this increase, Wyoming’s unemployment rate was considerably lower than the U.S. rate of 10.2%. The state’s unemployment rate has increased in 10 of the last 11 months. Over-the-year nonagricultural wage and salary job losses in Wyoming (-5.5%) were larger than U.S. job losses (-4.0%).

Over the year, Wyoming nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased by 16,600 jobs, or 5.5%. More than half of the job losses were from two sectors: natural resources & mining (-6,000 jobs, or -19.8%) and construction (-5,000 jobs, or -16.8%). Employment also decreased in leisure & hospitality (-2,000 jobs, or -6.0%), retail trade (-1,600 jobs, or -4.9%), professional & business services (-800 jobs, or -4.3%), other services (-700 jobs, or -5.7%), financial activities (-500 jobs, or -4.3%), and transportation & utilities (-500 jobs, or -3.4%). Job gains were seen in government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals; 600 jobs, or 0.8%) and educational & health services (100 jobs, or 0.4%).

From September to October, employment decreased by 5,900 jobs, or 2.0%. This is larger than the normal seasonal decrease of approximately 2,200 jobs, or 0.8%. Seasonal job losses were seen in construction (-800 jobs, or -3.1%), retail trade (-900 jobs, or -2.8%), professional & business services (-500 jobs, or -2.7%), and leisure & hospitality (-3,800 jobs, or -10.7%). Employment increased by 600 jobs, or 0.8% in government (including public schools, colleges, & hospitals).

Most county unemployment rates increased from September to October and all were higher than their year-ago levels. The highest unemployment rates were found in Big Horn (8.2%), Teton (8.1%), and Fremont (7.9%) counties. Albany County posted the lowest unemployment rate (4.3%), followed by Sublette (4.7%) and Niobrara (5.2%) counties.

1Seasonal adjustment is a statistical procedure to remove the impact of normal regularly recurring events (such as weather, major holidays, and the opening and closing of schools) from economic time series in order to obtain a better understanding of changes in economic conditions from month to month.

Last modified by Phil Ellsworth.