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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wyoming County Employment Data, Part 1

In yesterday's article I reported the latest jobs numbers for Wyoming as a whole. It was not fun
  • In two years the private sector has cut almost 17,000 jobs;
  • Six out of ten jobs lost in the private sector are not minerals-industry jobs;
  • Private-sector employment has been shrinking for 20 months in a row now.
These statewide numbers are frightening in and by themselves. However...
...they would not be complete without a more detailed analysis at the county level. Unfortunately, that data category is not reported as rapidly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as statewide numbers. It takes them another six months to produce them, taking us only through June 2016. Nevertheless, this is far enough into the current economic crisis here in Wyoming to give us an interesting picture of the situation, county by county. 

To begin with, the following counties have seen a reduction in year-to-year private sector employment for at least 12 months (there is no data for Niobrara):

Big Horn (14 months in a row)
Campbell (15)
Converse (13)
Fremont (16)
Hot Springs (32)
Johnson (18)
Natrona (15)
Sublette (50)
Sweetwater (35)
Uinta (15)

Hot Springs actually saw an uptick by 0.4 percent in June 2016 over June 2015, the first month of a rise in private-sector unemployment in that county since September 2013. Hot Springs belongs on this list not only because of its extraordinary long record of declining private-sector employment, but also because a 0.4-percent uptick is not enough to break a trend. 

Sublette is actually a good example of that. After having seen private-sector employment fall from April 2012 through December 2014, they experienced a 0.2-percent rise in private employment in January 2015. That was, however, a one-month relief: starting again in February 2015, Sublette has a steady, and rather substantial, decline in private-sector employment. 

Sweetwater has also had one anomalous month: with the exception of a 0.1-percent increase in May 2014, private-sector employment has declined steadily since July 2013.

Other counties with a downward trend in private employment:

Carbon (5 months in a row)
Goshen (3)
Laramie (11)
Park (7)
Platte (6)
Sheridan (6)
Washakie (9)
Weston (5)

In other words, the private-employment trend is negative in 18 of the 22 counties for which we have data. As for the remaining four,
  • In Albany, private-sector employment has been rising 15 months in a row;
  • Crook has a mostly negative trend, with eight out of the past 12 months in the red, but the changes are small in both directions;
  • Lincoln has not seen a decline in private-sector jobs since December 2013;
  • Teton, lastly, has been adding private jobs since July 2011.
These numbers clearly show that the job losses are not isolated to one corner of the state. It is statewide, and the only difference is in the intensity of the job loss.

Tomorrow, we will take a look at private-sector earnings, both statewide and at the county level. Those numbers are important because they give us a good idea of where the tax base is heading (and yes, you can do that even in a state that does not have an income tax...)

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