By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1% in January, the ninth month in a row after hitting peaking last spring.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a percentage point, from 5.2% in December to 5.1% in January.
Wyoming recently completed a comprehensive annual revision of its unemployment data, which showed that the state’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.5% in May 2020 and has steadily declined since then.
Wyoming’s January unemployment rate of 5.1% was much lower than the U.S. rate of 6.3%.
Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased from December to January. Unemployment rates often rise in January as seasonal job losses are seen in many sectors, including construction, retail trade, transportation & warehousing, leisure and hospitality and government.
The largest jobless rate increases were seen in Sublette (up to 8.3% from 6.7%), Big Horn (up to 6.2% from 4.7%), Niobrara (up to 5.2% from 3.9%), and Hot Springs (up to 5.6% from 4.4%) counties.
From January 2020 to January 2021, unemployment rates rose in nearly every county. The largest increases were seen in areas of the state dominated by the energy sector.
Converse County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 6.7%, Natrona County’s rate rose from 5.2% to 8.2%, Campbell County’s rate rose from 4.4% to 7% and Sweetwater County’s rate rose from 6.2% to 7.7%.
In contrast to those increases, Big Horn County’s unemployment rate was unchanged from a year earlier, staying at 6.2%.
The lowest unemployment rates in Wyoming were found in Weston County at 3.8%, Crook County at 4.0%, and Teton County at 4.2%. Sublette County reported the highest unemployment rate at 8.3%.
It was followed by Natrona County at 8.2%, Sweetwater County at 7.7%, Campbell County at 7% and Converse County at 6.7%.
Total non-farm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 282,400 in January 2020 to 265,900 in January, a decline of 16,500 jobs (-5.8%).