I have reported on several occasions about the labor market situation in Wyoming, and it is not a pretty picture. For example, in the past two years we have lost 16,700 private-sector jobs, half of them outside the minerals industry.
The usual way to look at the jobs situation is to do it either by industry or by county. There is a third set of statistics, namely employment by occupation. This type of statistics is hard to come by, especially at the state level; the volume of statistics needed to produce each update is, simply, humungous. It is also a matter of collection method - this type of statistics essentially relies on individual data, as opposed to data at the industrial level.
As a result of the methodological barrier and resulting high production cost, the Bureau of Labor Statistics only puts out one annual publication, with a minor update halfway through each year. Fortunately, the updates are disaggregated to the state level and therefore allow us to study at least long-term trends in occupational employment.
A new release is due in May, which makes this a good time to look at employment by occupation in Wyoming. Together with statistics over employment, the OES data product also offers comprehensive compensation data. For example, here is what it says about employment and annual wages by occupation in Wyoming in 2016 (L means "employed persons" and W stands for "annual wage"):*
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||8,480||$68,180|
|Computer and Mathematical Occupations||2,650||$62,170|
|Architecture and Engineering Occupations||4,860||$78,020|
|Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations||4,200||$56,270|
|Community and Social Service Occupations||4,090||$46,730|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||20,230||$48,230|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations||3,070||$41,070|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||14,300||$77,590|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||6,630||$31,200|
|Protective Service Occupations||5,980||$44,820|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||25,180||$23,770|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||11,670||$28,270|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||8,110||$26,570|
|Sales and Related Occupations||25,320||$36,660|
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||36,190||$35,290|
|Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations||500||$31,580|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||27,890||$50,950|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||17,380||$54,490|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||23,600||$43,650|
These numbers are interesting in themselves, but they do not tell us much about what is happening in our economy. For that purpose, of course, we need to compare them to previous years. Figure 1 reports changes in employment and wages for these occupation categories from 2014 to 2015, sorted from the category with the biggest employment loss (Community and Social Service Occupations) to that with the biggest gain (Health Care Support Occupations). The blue columns, in turn, represent changes in per-employee average wages:
Ten of the 22 occupational categories saw employment decline. That is bad enough - unfortunately, if we look at the 2015-to-2016 changes, a total of 13 occupations lost jobs:
This time, architects and engineers suffer the biggest losses, with an employment decline of 14.6 percent. Right behind them are "construction and extraction occupations", which obviously includes the minerals industry. They saw a 12.1-percent loss from 2015 to 2016.
On the positive side, last year farming, fishing and forestry occupations saw an employment rise of 8.7 percent, with personal care and service occupations closely behind at 7.6 percent.
Figures 1 and 2 confirm what I have been pointing to for some time now, namely that it is far from just the minerals industry that has been cutting jobs. For example, the legal profession has been the third biggest jobs loser two years in a row, with -4.8 percent in 2015 and -10.7 percent in 2016.
In terms of actual employment numbers, over the two-year period 2014-2016, 13 of the 22 occupational categories saw jobs being lost. Table 2 reports employment losses by category:
|2-yr employment record|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||-4970|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||-1250|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||-1080|
|Architecture and Engineering Occupations||-720|
|Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations||-320|
|Protective Service Occupations||-270|
|Community and Social Service Occupations||-110|
|Computer and Mathematical Occupations||-80|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||-60|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations||-40|
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||20|
|Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations||20|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||140|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||230|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||280|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||290|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||440|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||970|
|Sales and Related Occupations||1440|
There is one more angle to this data that is interesting, namely the question whether it is our biggest occupational categories that are losing employment, or if the losses are spread out across all occupations, large and small. Figure 3 has the answer:
In other words, it is not just our "big" occupations that are taking a beating from the depressed economy. Construction and extraction represent 10.1 percent of all employment in Wyoming, with a loss of employment at 12.1 percent in 2016. By contrast, lawyers are only 0.6 percent of our employed workforce, yet that occupational category shrank by 10.7 percent last year.
The numbers behind Figure 3 are reported in Table 3 below:
|Share of total emp||Gain or loss in emp|
|Office, administrative support||13.1%||-1.1%|
|Food prep, serving||9.1%||0.4%|
|Education and related||7.3%||1.3%|
|Health care practitioners||5.2%||1.1%|
|Building and Grounds Maint.||4.2%||2.5%|
|Life, Phyical, Social||1.5%||-5.0%|
|Community, Social Svcs||1.5%||5.7%|
|Computers and Math||1.0%||0.0%|
The clear message in these numbers is that our economy is hurting across the board.
More on occupational employment and earnings in about a month. (Yes, I know... can't wait...)