By Bob Beck
Laramie, Wyo. – Final payroll and employment numbers for the fourth quarter of 2009 are out, and they show that payroll declined in 16 Wyoming counties in the final months of last year. According to the state Department of Employment, the biggest impacts were in Natrona, Campbell, Teton and Sweetwater Counties, where large job losses led to income losses totaling more than 174 million dollars.
While Wyoming unemployment numbers have not been as bad as in other states, State Senior Economist David Bullard says that those numbers can be misleading. "One way Wyoming is different from most other states is because we are small when we grow rapidly we tend to import labor. And then when we lose jobs, a lot of those people tend to go back to other states. That's largely why our unemployment rate did not go nearly as large as the nation's."
Bullard notes that the layoffs that the state did see led to an overall payroll decline of 268 million dollars. Bullard says that impacts consumer spending, which can also affect sales tax income.