COVID, Restrictions Cost Wyoming 26,733 Jobs: Report

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The coronavirus pandemic and related business restrictions cost the state almost 27,000 jobs in the second quarter of the year, according to a state agency.

The Research and Planning Section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services said employment dropped by 26,733 — 9.6% — in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the second quarter of 2019.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions hit Wyoming in the second quarter of 2020, widespread job losses were seen in the state,” the report said.

The second quarter of the year runs from April through June. The state’s first case of coronavirus was detected in mid-March and state public health orders forcing the closure of bars, restaurants, fitness centers and other businesses were in place from late until May.

The report released Friday said the biggest impact from business restrictions was seen in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector, where jobs were reduced by 10,255 from the second quarter of 2019.

Mining jobs were second hardest hit, with employment dropping by more than 4,500 jobs, local government lost 3,191 jobs, construction jobs fell by 1,695 and retail trade saw a decline of 1,406 jobs.

Teton County saw the largest decline in employment during the year, with a loss of 4,587 jobs. Natrona County followed with 4,079 jobs lost and Sweetwater County lost 2,994 jobs compared to 2019.

Preliminary data for the third quarter of 2020 — running from July through September — also shows a decline in employment compared to figures from 2019, but not as large a loss as was seen in the second quarter, the report said.

The report said compared to the third quarter of 2019, the state lost 22,800 jobs in the third quarter of 2020, about 8% of Wyoming’s total employment.

The largest job loss appeared again to be in the leisure and hospitality industry, about 6,100 jobs, the report said, followed by mining at 5,950.

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