© Copyright 2020 by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Research & Planning

Wyoming Unemployment Unchanged at 3.7% in February 2020

Note: COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected Wyoming’s economy with numerous layoffs around the state. However, it will likely be some time before its effect will be seen in the economic data. The state unemployment rate is based on responses to the Current Population Survey (CPS), not claims for unemployment insurance. Additionally, the reference period for the CPS is the week of the 12th, so it is unclear how much of the disruption to the economy will be captured in the forthcoming March unemployment rate estimates. Readers should be aware that this report reflects economic conditions in the state as of mid-February, which likely differ significantly from current economic conditions on the day of this release (March 31).

The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7% in February. Wyoming’s unemployment rate has remained between 3.4% and 3.7% in each of the past 16 months. The state’s labor force grew by an estimated 2,682 people (0.9%) from a year earlier.

From February 2019 to February 2020, unemployment rates rose in 18 counties, fell in four counties, and remained unchanged in Crook County. The largest increases occurred in Platte (up from 3.3% to 4.7%), Sweetwater (up from 4.2% to 5.4%), Hot Springs (up from 3.4% to 4.5%), Niobrara (up from 2.3% to 3.4%), and Sublette (up from 4.9% to 6.0%) counties. Unemployment rates decreased in Park (down from 5.3% to 5.0%) and Johnson (down from 4.4% to 4.2%) counties.

Most county unemployment rates changed very little from January to February. Unemployment increased modestly in Washakie (up from 4.6% to 5.0%), Carbon (up from 4.2% to 4.4%), Converse (up from 3.0% to 3.2%), and Hot Springs (up from 4.3% to 4.5%) counties. Unemployment rates fell in Johnson (down from 4.5% to 4.2%), Uinta (down from 4.7% to 4.5%), Park (down from 5.2% to 5.0%), Goshen (down from 3.7% to 3.5%), Fremont (down from 5.6% to 5.4%), and Albany (down from 3.3% to 3.1%) counties.

The lowest unemployment rates in February were found in Teton County at 2.6%, Albany County at 3.1%, and Weston, Crook, and Converse counties, each at 3.2%. Sublette County posted the highest unemployment rate at 6.0%. It was followed by Big Horn County at 5.5%, and Fremont and Sweetwater counties, each at 5.4%.

Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 282,600 in February 2019 to 280,500 in February 2020, a decline of 2,100 jobs (-0.7%).

Research & Planning has scheduled the March unemployment news release for April 21, 2020.

Wyoming Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Labor Force Estimates
                                                                                  Month                    Year
                                 February-20   January-20  February-19     absolute     percent    absolute     percent
Total Civilian Labor Force          294,173      293,281      291,491         892        0.3%       2,682        0.9%
Employed                            283,295      282,542      281,400         753        0.3%       1,895        0.7%
Unemployed                           10,878       10,739       10,091         139        1.3%         787        7.8%
Unemployment Rate                       3.7          3.7          3.5

Employed All persons who, during the reference week, did any work at all as paid employees, worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family business.
Unemployed All persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week.
Labor Force All persons who meet the criteria given above as either employed or unemployed.
Unemployment Rate The number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.
Seasonal Adjustment 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 to better understand changes in economic conditions from month to month.

Note Regarding Tables 1-3 Below

Not seasonally adjusted data reflect the actual economic conditions in a given area for a given time period. These data show the normal seasonal changes that occur in the economy. Most county unemployment rates are higher in the winter months because of seasonal job losses in construction, leisure & hospitality, and many other sectors. Similarly, most county unemployment rates are lower in the summer months as employment increases across the economy. Data users should use caution when comparing not seasonally adjusted data for different months, as at least part of the difference between months may reflect normal seasonal patterns.

In contrast, seasonally adjusted data have been subjected to a statistical procedure to remove the effects of normal changes that occur in the economy each year, such as seasonal hiring in the construction sector, the opening and closing of schools, and holiday hiring by retail trade establishments. There is no expectation that seasonally adjusted unemployment rates will be higher or lower in any particular month, except as the economy expands or contracts. The value of seasonally adjusted data is that it is easy to identify longer-term trends in the data and valid comparisons can be made between any two months in the series.

Research & Planning works in cooperation with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop and publish unemployment rates for each county in Wyoming. However, these data are not seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal changes each month.

Table 1: Wyoming counties not seasonally adjusted unemployment
rates ranked from lowest to highest for February 2020
   County        		             Rate*
Teton County, WY                              2.6
Albany County, WY                             3.1
Converse County, WY                           3.2
Crook County, WY                              3.2
Weston County, WY                             3.2
Niobrara County, WY                           3.4
Goshen County, WY                             3.5
Campbell County, WY                           3.8
Laramie County, WY                            4.1
Johnson County, WY                            4.2
Lincoln County, WY                            4.2
Sheridan County, WY                           4.3
Wyoming                                       4.3
Carbon County, WY                             4.4
Hot Springs County, WY                        4.5
Uinta County, WY                              4.5
Natrona County, WY                            4.7
Platte County, WY                             4.7
Park County, WY                               5.0
Washakie County, WY                           5.0
Fremont County, WY                            5.4
Sweetwater County, WY                         5.4
Big Horn County, WY                           5.5
Sublette County, WY                           6.0


Table 2: Wyoming counties not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates over-the-month rate
changes ranked from lowest to highest for February 2020

                                   Month ago               Over-the-Month   
    County                            rate         Rate*     Rate Change    
Johnson County, WY                     4.5          4.2         -0.3
Albany County, WY                      3.3          3.1         -0.2
Fremont County, WY                     5.6          5.4         -0.2
Goshen County, WY                      3.7          3.5         -0.2
Park County, WY                        5.2          5.0         -0.2
Uinta County, WY                       4.7          4.5         -0.2
Campbell County, WY                    3.9          3.8         -0.1
Teton County, WY                       2.7          2.6         -0.1
Lincoln County, WY                     4.2          4.2          0.0
Natrona County, WY                     4.7          4.7          0.0
Niobrara County, WY                    3.4          3.4          0.0
Sheridan County, WY                    4.3          4.3          0.0
Sweetwater County, WY                  5.4          5.4          0.0
Wyoming                                4.3          4.3          0.0
Big Horn County, WY                    5.4          5.5          0.1
Crook County, WY                       3.1          3.2          0.1
Laramie County, WY                     4.0          4.1          0.1
Platte County, WY                      4.6          4.7          0.1
Sublette County, WY                    5.9          6.0          0.1
Weston County, WY                      3.1          3.2          0.1
Carbon County, WY                      4.2          4.4          0.2
Converse County, WY                    3.0          3.2          0.2
Hot Springs County, WY                 4.3          4.5          0.2
Washakie County, WY                    4.6          5.0          0.4


Table 3: Wyoming counties not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates over-the-year
changes ranked from lowest to highest for February 2020
                                Year ago                Over-the-Year   
   County                         Rate         Rate*     Rate Change    
Park County, WY                    5.3          5.0         -0.3
Johnson County, WY                 4.4          4.2         -0.2
Goshen County, WY                  3.6          3.5         -0.1
Weston County, WY                  3.3          3.2         -0.1
Crook County, WY                   3.2          3.2          0.0
Sheridan County, WY                4.2          4.3          0.1
Campbell County, WY                3.6          3.8          0.2
Fremont County, WY                 5.2          5.4          0.2
Albany County, WY                  2.8          3.1          0.3
Carbon County, WY                  4.0          4.4          0.4
Converse County, WY                2.8          3.2          0.4
Teton County, WY                   2.2          2.6          0.4
Uinta County, WY                   4.1          4.5          0.4
Natrona County, WY                 4.2          4.7          0.5
Washakie County, WY                4.5          5.0          0.5
Wyoming                            3.8          4.3          0.5
Big Horn County, WY                4.9          5.5          0.6
Laramie County, WY                 3.4          4.1          0.7
Lincoln County, WY                 3.5          4.2          0.7
Hot Springs County, WY             3.4          4.5          1.1
Niobrara County, WY                2.3          3.4          1.1
Sublette County, WY                4.9          6.0          1.1
Sweetwater County, WY              4.2          5.4          1.2
Platte County, WY                  3.3          4.7          1.4


Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
Research & Planning

March 31, 2020

David Bullard, Senior Economist, 307-473-3810

Michael Moore, Editor, 307-473-3814

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