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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

County by County Jobs Update, Part 1

Yes! Time for another update on employment and earnings by county! Today, let us take a look at employment. 

As explained in the September TRENDS report from the Department of Workforce Services, some parts of the state have - not surprisingly - taken a bigger beating than others.
The counties hit the hardest by unemployment are Campbell, Converse, Fremont, Natrona, Sweetwater and Uinta, all of which have an unemployment rate above four percent. Best off are Albany, Crook, Goshen, Lincoln and Teton, where 3.1 percent or less of the workforce is idling involuntarily.* 

However, unemployment is an imperfect measurement of a state's economic strength. Unlike a country, a state has no restrictions on labor force migration across its borders. Therefore, it is more accurate to look at employment numbers, in particular for the private sector. 

Figure 1 reports county-by-county change in private employment, from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017:**

Figure 1
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

It has been the trend throughout the long 2015-2017 downturn that only 3-4 counties have shown positive job trends. Teton has traditionally led the crowd, with Johnson and Lincoln in the same category, though to highly varying degree. 

One of the enduring problems with this most recent economic downturn has been the rigidity in government employment. We have heard loud laments from school administrators over two or three layoffs (in counties where thousands have lost their jobs in the private sector) and we have seen the efforts of tax hikers in the state legislature.

At long last, it looks like there have been some adjustments in the government workforce to somewhat accommodate for the often-serious losses of private-sector jobs. The green function in Figure 2 shows changes in state-and-local government employment by county, for the same period as in Figure 1, with the changes in private sector jobs added for comparison. For example, while private-sector employment fell by 10.6 percent in Campbell County, state and local government in that county reduced employment by 4.3 percent (a detailed, county by county table follows at the end of this blog article):

Figure 2
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

It is a bit of a relief to see that the government workforce is being adjusted, at least moderately, to changes in private-sector jobs. This is a beginning - but only a beginning - of a much-needed downsizing of government here in Wyoming. 

One of our major problems in our state is that government has become a critical employer in too many counties. Figure 3 reports the Government Employment Ratio by county; the GER is the number of state and local government workers per 1,000 private-sector employees. The black function illustrates the statewide GER average of 306, which means that a majority of our counties have a higher-than-average dependency on government jobs:

Figure 3
Raw data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Since Wyoming has the highest GER of all states, the above-reported county-based GER numbers are quite serious. Three of our counties, Big Horn, Weston and Fremont, have a higher GER than the most government-dependent nations in Europe. 

After the footnotes follow three tables with the data off which the Figures are derived. Enjoy this short overview of your county's economic performance; there is more coming in follow-up articles! 
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*) The TRENDS report also puts Niobrara County in the best-off category. However, since BLS jobs data from Niobrara is spotty, to say the least, I leave them out. 
**) The counties reported are selected exclusively based on data availability. Those that are not included are left out for lack of reliable data.
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APPENDIX


Private sector employment, annual growth rates, first quarter
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Statewide 4.0% -2.4% -6.7% 1.3% 3.1% 0.2% 1.7% 1.9% -4.9% -3.3%
BH 5.0% -7.0% -1.7% 2.7% 3.5% 1.5% -0.6% 6.1% -6.6% -5.6%
Camp. 5.5% 3.8% -8.1% -1.6% 2.1% -3.9% 2.0% 2.7% -9.6% -10.6%
Carb. 14.9% -20.6% -6.4% -0.1% 1.1% 4.7% 10.2% -3.0% -0.7% -6.0%
Conv. 14.1% -2.0% 3.3% -2.7% 10.1% 4.9% 6.1% 4.1% -10.8% -9.8%
Frem. 3.4% -1.9% -5.3% 3.1% 1.2% 0.5% -1.4% -0.3% -4.4% -3.3%
Gosh. 0.9% -1.3% -5.9% 2.4% 1.8% -0.5% -1.7% -0.9% 0.6% -0.5%
John. 2.7% -1.0% -13.5% 1.8% 3.5% 3.2% 2.4% -8.4% -6.8% 1.6%
Lara. 4.1% -3.2% -3.6% 0.8% 3.5% 2.0% 4.4% 2.7% -2.0% 0.3%
Linc. 7.8% -16.5% -10.6% 4.7% -8.2% -1.4% 1.1% 5.2% 3.5% 2.3%
Natr. 1.9% -0.1% -7.0% 2.9% 6.6% 3.3% 1.2% 3.4% -9.9% -5.3%
Park 3.6% -1.4% -2.1% 0.6% 4.0% -1.3% 0.5% 1.5% -1.0% -3.3%
Plat. -0.9% -1.4% 1.9% 3.0% -1.6% -1.5% 0.2% 11.3% -6.9% -2.0%
Sher. 1.9% -1.8% -7.7% -1.5% 2.3% -2.6% 4.2% 3.5% -0.2% -1.9%
Subl. 5.9% 10.8% -13.1% 5.5% 8.8% -21.6% -3.1% -2.7% -20.1% -3.0%
Swee. 4.0% -1.8% -12.4% 6.1% 3.4% 0.3% -1.5% -1.4% -7.6% -2.6%
Teton 4.4% -7.4% -7.1% -0.8% 3.0% 3.3% 5.4% 4.3% 3.9% 3.2%
Uinta 2.7% -0.7% -10.8% -0.8% 3.7% -3.3% -1.8% 1.9% -9.1% -4.2%
Wash. 0.9% 0.5% -3.5% 0.7% -2.8% -0.6% -1.2% 1.7% -3.4% -2.5%
West. 2.9% -3.4% -0.3% -3.2% -1.9% 2.1% 4.8% 1.2% -0.2% -4.3%
State and local government employment, annual growth rates, first quarter
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Statewide 2.6% 4.1% 1.8% 0.7% 1.0% 0.8% -0.5% -0.4% 1.2% -1.4%
BH -0.4% 4.0% -0.1% 0.7% 1.3% -0.6% -1.2% -0.3% 3.0% -3.2%
Camp. 4.1% 4.3% 6.3% 3.2% 2.4% 5.0% 1.4% 0.7% 3.6% -4.3%
Carb. -2.6% 4.1% 1.2% 2.7% -0.7% -0.8% -2.8% -4.7% -1.4% -1.1%
Conv. 4.9% 2.3% 3.6% 0.8% 3.4% 2.8% 1.0% 0.0% 5.6% -3.5%
Frem. 4.2% 7.5% 1.1% 0.6% 2.2% 1.6% -3.7% -2.1% -4.0% -0.2%
Gosh. 1.5% 5.1% 31.4% -1.8% 1.7% -2.1% 1.5% -2.7% -1.9% -2.3%
John. 2.2% 1.1% 2.5% 3.1% 1.7% -2.0% 1.1% -0.9% 0.4% -0.9%
Lara. 2.4% 4.0% -0.9% 0.8% 0.0% 1.0% -0.6% -0.4% 0.6% 0.1%
Linc. 4.2% 8.7% -2.5% -2.4% -0.3% -0.5% -0.4% 0.7% 3.3% 0.0%
Natr. 2.2% 0.7% 1.8% -0.5% 0.6% -0.1% 1.5% 0.3% 1.9% -3.5%
Park 4.8% 1.4% 3.2% -0.4% 2.8% 2.1% -1.3% -1.0% 1.5% -0.2%
Plat. 1.8% -2.1% 9.5% -0.5% -3.6% 6.2% -2.9% -2.5% -5.3% 2.7%
Sher. 5.3% 3.2% 1.2% 0.3% -1.2% 2.4% -1.9% 1.0% 2.2% 1.0%
Subl. 6.8% 7.9% 4.4% 2.0% 2.7% -0.1% -0.8% 3.2% 1.7% -3.4%
Swee. 4.0% 3.9% 4.4% 2.5% 1.4% -0.6% -0.2% -1.4% 1.3% -1.1%
Teton -0.9% 3.4% -0.1% 1.5% 1.7% 0.3% 2.5% 2.2% 2.6% 2.9%
Uinta 1.7% 2.9% -1.5% -0.2% 2.1% -1.9% -0.5% 2.5% 2.5% -1.5%
Wash. 4.2% 4.1% 0.0% 0.9% -1.0% -2.9% 0.7% 1.4% 0.5% 0.5%
West. 1.9% 2.9% -0.8% -0.4% 0.7% 2.4% -2.5% -1.5% 1.9% -0.9%
Government Employment Ratio
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016   2017
Statewide 263 259 276 302 300 294 295 289 282 300    306
BH 550 522 583 593 581 569 557 553 520 573 588
Camp. 163 161 162 188 197 197 215 214 210 240 257
Carb. 365 309 406 439 451 443 420 371 364 361 380
Conv. 371 341 356 357 370 348 341 325 312 369 395
Frem. 454 457 501 535 522 527 532 520 510 512 529
Gosh. 325 327 348 485 466 465 458 473 464 453 445
John. 350 348 355 421 426 419 398 393 426 459 447
Lara. 365 359 386 397 396 383 379 361 350 359 359
Linc. 337 326 424 462 431 468 473 465 446 445 435
Natr. 148 148 149 163 158 149 144 145 140 159 162
Park 278 281 289 304 301 298 309 303 296 303 313
Plat. 322 331 329 353 341 335 361 350 306 312 326
Sher. 250 258 272 298 303 293 308 290 283 289 298
Subl. 187 189 184 221 213 201 256 262 278 354 352
Swee. 188 188 199 237 229 224 222 225 225 247 251
Teton 120 113 127 136 139 137 133 130 127 126 125
Uinta 275 273 283 312 314 309 314 318 320 360 370
Wash. 237 245 253 263 263 268 262 267 267 277 286
West. 507 502 535 532 547 562 564 525 511 521 540



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