DOUGLAS (WNE) — While unemployment rates are decreasing across the country and in Wyoming, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Research & Planning reports that at the same time, Wyoming is in the midst of its third economic downturn since 2009.
DWS defines an economic downturn as a period of at least two consecutive quarters of over-the-year decrease in average monthly employment and total wages based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program.
The state’s two other most recent downturns occurred from 2009-Q1 to 2010-Q1, and from 2015-Q2 to 2016-Q4. Declining energy prices preceded both downturns.
Most of the counties – Converse, Natrona, Campbell and Sweetwater – with the greatest job losses were those with a large presence of natural resources and mining jobs, according to Wyoming Labor Force Trends Editor Michael Moore (DWS Research & Planning Trends, October 2021).
These counties also experienced the greatest decrease in wages, including Natrona County (-$62.8 million/-13%:, Campbell County (-$55 million/-14.9%), Sweetwater County (-$48 million/-15%) and Converse County (-$34 million/-32%), Moore wrote in the DWS publication.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and declines in the prices of and demand for energy resources have driven Wyoming’s recent job losses,” Moore wrote. “The state’s average monthly employment of 254,345 in 2021-Q1 was slightly higher than the 252,329 in 2020-Q2, which marked the lowest employment over the last decade. Prior to the pandemic, Wyoming’s lowest average monthly employment in the last decade was 261,224 in 2017-Q1.”