Note from Wyoming Department of Workforce Services: COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected Wyoming’s economy with numerous layoffs around the state. However, it will likely be some time before its effect will be seen in the economic data. The state unemployment rate is based on responses to the Current Population Survey (CPS), not claims for unemployment insurance. Additionally, the reference period for the CPS is the week of the 12th, so it is unclear how much of the disruption to the economy will be captured in the forthcoming March unemployment rate estimates. Readers should be aware that this report reflects economic conditions in the state as of mid-February, which likely differ significantly from current economic conditions on the day of this release (March 31).
The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7% in February. Wyoming’s unemployment rate has remained between 3.4% and 3.7% in each of the past 16 months. The state’s labor force grew by an estimated 2,682 people (0.9%) from a year earlier.
From February 2019 to February 2020, unemployment rates rose in 18 counties, fell in four counties, and remained unchanged in Crook County. The largest increases occurred in Platte (up from 3.3% to 4.7%), Sweetwater (up from 4.2% to 5.4%), Hot Springs (up from 3.4% to 4.5%), Niobrara (up from 2.3% to 3.4%), and Sublette (up from 4.9% to 6.0%) counties. Unemployment rates decreased in Park (down from 5.3% to 5.0%) and Johnson (down from 4.4% to 4.2%) counties.
Most county unemployment rates changed very little from January to February. Unemployment increased modestly in Washakie (up from 4.6% to 5.0%), Carbon (up from 4.2% to 4.4%), Converse (up from 3.0% to 3.2%), and Hot Springs (up from 4.3% to 4.5%) counties. Unemployment rates fell in Johnson (down from 4.5% to 4.2%), Uinta (down from 4.7% to 4.5%), Park (down from 5.2% to 5.0%), Goshen (down from 3.7% to 3.5%), Fremont (down from 5.6% to 5.4%), and Albany (down from 3.3% to 3.1%) counties.
The lowest unemployment rates in February were found in Teton County at 2.6%, Albany County at 3.1%, and Weston, Crook, and Converse counties, each at 3.2%. Sublette County posted the highest unemployment rate at 6.0%. It was followed by Big Horn County at 5.5%, and Fremont and Sweetwater counties, each at 5.4%.
Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 282,600 in February 2019 to 280,500 in February 2020, a decline of 2,100 jobs (-0.7%).
Research & Planning has scheduled the March unemployment news release for April 21, 2020.