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Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Research & Planning
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Casper, WY 82601
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"Labor Market Information (LMI) is an applied science; it is the systematic collection and analysis of data which describes and predicts the relationship between labor demand and supply." The States' Labor Market Information Review, ICESA, 1995, p. 7.

2022 Wyoming Workforce Annual Report

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Wyoming Labor Force Trends

September 2022 | Volume 59, No. 9

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Labor Force, Unemployment Rate Decline in 2021

Article | Figure

by: Carola Cowan, BLS Programs Supervisor

Wyoming’s average annual unemployment rate for 2021 was 4.5%, down from 5.8% in 2020. The decrease can be attributed to a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in energy prices.

The unemployment rate steadily declined from 5.5% in 2012 to 4.2% in 20l5 (see Figure 1). In 2016, the unemployment rate increased to 5.4% after large layoffs in Wyoming’s energy sector. The unemployment rate then declined each year from 2017 to 2019 before increasing to 5.8% in 2020.

The decline in the unemployment rate in 2017 was associated with a large decline in the labor force (the number of employed plus the number of unemployed individuals) that continued in 2018. Wyoming's labor force saw a steady decline from a high of 303,748 in 2012 to 292,781 in 2018. The labor force increased to 294,380 in 2019 before decreasing in 2020 and 2021. The labor force in 2020 was 290,404, the lowest since 2007.

The decrease in Wyoming's labor force directly affected the unemployment rate, which is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the labor force. If the number of unemployed remains the same but labor force decreases, the unemployment rate will go up.

Wyoming's labor force participation rate (the percent of the population working or looking for work) also has declined in recent years, since a high of 72.2% in 2008. By 2021, it dropped to 64.1%, the lowest since 1976, the first year for which comparable data are available.

The 2022 Wyoming Workforce Annual Report is available at https://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/annual-report/2022/2022_Annual_Report.pdf.