By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell slightly in May as seasonal employment continued to boost job numbers, according to the state Department of Workforce Services.
Unemployment in May was set at 5.4%, a slight drop from the 5.7% seen in April, the department said, thanks largely to the gains seen in seasonal jobs.
“From April to May, unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and decreased in most counties,” the department said in its monthly unemployment report. “Unemployment rates often decline in May as warmer weather brings seasonal jobs in leisure and hospitality, construction, professional and business services and government.”
The state’s unemployment rate for May was slightly below the national average of 5.5%.
Crook County had the lowest unemployment rate for May at 3.9%, while Natrona County had the highest at 6.9%
Reflecting the influence of tourism, Teton County had the largest decline in the unemployment rate, falling from 7.1% in April to 5.9% in May.
May’s unemployment figure was far below the rate of 8.7% set in May of 2020 at the height of business closures forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
“From May 2020 to May 2021, unemployment rates fell in every county,” the department said. “Jobless rates were especially high in May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decreases in 2021 reflect a return toward more normal levels.”
The state’s “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate — a rate derived by accounting for the impacts of normally recurring events such as storms, warmer weather and major holidays — stood at 5.4% in May, the same as in April.
Again, the seasonally adjusted rate was well below the rate of 8.5% seen in May 2020 and slightly below the national average of 5.8%.
The number of jobs in the state also grew slightly in May from the previous year, the report said, with a gain of about 10,000. The department said the increase was due to low job numbers caused by COVID-19 last year.
“Nonfarm employment was unusually low in May 2020 because of widespread economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report said.