Mining job losses in Wyoming at the end of 2012 have contributed to the lowest job and payroll growth in the state in over two years, despite modest economic growth overall.
David Bullard is a senior economist with the Wyoming Department of Workforce services. He says that the slight increases in tourism-related fields, such as accommodation and food service, are not making up for heavy losses elsewhere.
Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly from March to April of this year.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported that the unemployment rate shrank in almost every county last month. The biggest decrease happened in Sheridan County, where unemployment dropped from 6.8 percent to 5.7 percent.
Converse County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, where it dropped half a percent to 3.5.
Emergency unemployment compensation program benefits will be reduced under the federal government’s budget sequester.
Wyoming Workforce Services Director Joan Evans that the program provides unemployed individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits. Evans says the reduction will likely be noticeable.
For the fourth straight month, Wyoming’s unemployment rate remains at four point nine percent. University of Wyoming Economist Anne Alexander says the news is surprising when you consider low natural gas prices and concerns about the coal industry.
“Things having to do with regulations coming on-line about coal, things having to do with the price of natural gas, I think what’s interesting is that either people are just kind of waiting and not sort of laying off a lot of people, a lot of people aren’t leaving and a lot of people aren’t rushing in either.”
Although Wyoming's unemployment rate dropped from November to December by 0.2 percent, the state labor force has also decreased by about 2,500 people in the last year, signaling that the economy might be worsening.
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Senior Economist David Bullard says the low unemployment rate doesn't tell the whole story about the state of Wyoming's economy.
The unemployment rate in Wyoming continues to decrease.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that November’s workless rate was 5-point-one percent, the lowest it’s been since spring of 2009.
Numbers have gone down little by little since the 5-point-seven percent unemployment rate reported at this time last year and Wyoming continues to stay significantly lower than the national average of 7-point-7 percent.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.4 percent in September to 5.2percent in October. This is lower still than the same time last year, and much lower than the current national average of 7.9 percent.
Senior Economist David Bullard says the decrease is not statistically significant, but it does speak to Wyoming’s overall economic health.
The Wyoming unemployment rate went up again in August, making it the third consecutive month with an increase in joblessness. Wyoming’s unemployment increased from 5.6% to 5.7% in August. Senior Economist with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, David Bullard, says it’s not totally clear what’s responsible for the slight loss of jobs, but the slowdown of the energy sector is likely contributing. Bullard says Wyoming is still doing better than most other states.
The Department of Workforce Services says the unemployment rate increased slightly in July, for the second month in a row.
Carola Cowan with the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are a number of possible reasons for the increase.
“Job gains from natural resources and mining have slowed down from earlier in the year,” Cowan said. “Natural gas prices have remained low, so that kind of affects us. Also, the national recovery has been fairly slow. … And of course the still-weak global economy.”
Wyoming's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged in December compared to November and has been about the same for the past six months. The unemployment rate in December was 5.8 percent and has kept between 5.7 and 5.9 percent since last June. The December rate was down considerably from the 6.4 percent unemployment seen in December 2010. The Department of Workforce Services reports jobless rates fell from December 2010 to December 2011 in 22 of Wyoming's 23 counties.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says that the state’s unemployment in October was at five-point-seven percent, well below national figures of nine percent. David Bullard is a Senior Economist with the department.
“The unemployment rate came down a tenth of percent from September to October. But it has really been in the narrow range of five point seven to five point nine in the past few months, so little change. But it is lower than a year ago.”