By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s economic health in April was at its lowest level seen in 15 years, according to a state agency.
The state’s Economic Analysis Division, in its June report on the state’s economic indicators, reported that the state’s economic health in April was given a score of 95.2, the lowest score recorded since the measurement was first taken in January 2005.
A score of 100 indicates the state’s economic health is equal to conditions seen in January 2005. A higher score indicates improvement and a lower score indicates worsening conditions.
The EAD, a division of the state Department of Administration and Information, said the four economic indicators used to determine the state’s economic health all declined significantly in April from March, when the economic health index was set at 104.3. Unemployment was the biggest contributor to the decline, the report said.
“This large drop in the index from March 2020 was primarily due to a sharp increase in unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report said.
The economic health index in April of 2019 was set at 105.9.
The index is determined by reviewing the state’s monthly unemployment rate, monthly total non-farm employment, sales and use tax collections from the mining sector and sales and use taxes from lodging.
Wyoming’s unemployment rate increased significantly in April from March, growing to 9.6% from 3.8%.
Non-farm employment dropped by 24,000 in April to total 262,400, sales and use tax collections from the mining industry fell by $2.7 million to total $6.4 million and lodging tax income totaled $640,000, a decline of 50% from numbers posted in April of 2019, the report said.
“This 50% year-over-year decline ties the largest decline for any month over the past 15 years,” the report said.