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Wyoming’s Unemployment Drops Again, Down To 6.1% In September

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment has continued to fall after the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, dropping by one-half percentage point to 6.1% in September.

The state’s unemployment rates were 6.6% in August and 7.1% in July, respectively. The unemployment rate peaked at 9.6% in April and has steadily fallen since then.

The Department of Workforce Services announced these updates rates in a report on Tuesday, adding that unemployment rate in the state was significantly lower than the national average of 7.9%.

“It appears that the state’s economy is recovering and individuals are going back to work,” the report said.

Over the last month, unemployment rates fell in every county, but the largest decreases were seen in Lincoln (down to 4.2% from 5.7%), Campbell (down to 7.2% from 8.2%) and Uinta (down to 6.4% from 7.3%) counties.

Compared to September 2019, unemployment rates were still higher in every county.

The largest increases compared to one year ago were Natrona (up to 8.7% from 3.7%), Sweetwater (up to 7% from 3.4%), Campbell (up to 7.2% from 3.8%), Comverse (up to 5.7% from 2.6%) and Uinta (up to 6.4% from 3.7%) counties.

Jobless rates increased slightly in Albany (up to 3.1% from 3%), Goshen (up to 4% from 3.4%) and Big Horn (up to 4.3% from 3.7%) counties.

Albany County reported the lowest unemployment rate in Wyoming at 3.1%, followed by Niobrara County at 3.4%, and Weston and Crook counties, both at 3.6%.

The highest unemployment rates were in Natrona County at 8.7%, Campbell County at 7.2% and Sweetwater County at 7%. Natrona County has had the highest unemployment rate in the state since the start of the pandemic.

Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 295,500 in September 2019 to 278,900 in September 2020, a decline of 16,600 jobs (-5.6%).

Wyoming has consistently ranked among the states whose unemployment rates have recovered the fastest and strongest, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

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Wyoming Continues To Have Strong Unemployment Recovery Rates

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming continues to have strong unemployment recovery rates, according to a recent national ranking.

The state placed ninth nationally for improvements in its unemployment rate seen since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

This is one spot higher than the state’s ranking last week. Missouri took the top recovery spot this week, after being ranked 20th last week.

Louisiana had the worst unemployment recovery rates in the country for the last week, dropping from 46th place.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics based on changes in unemployment claims.

Wyoming’s unemployment claims from the week of Sept. 17 compared to the same week in 2019 are up by 150.18%, while claims have only increased by 6.95% since the beginning of 2020, the study said.

Red states’ unemployment rates are recovering faster this week, WalletHub found.

This news comes the same week the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services announced that the state’s unemployment rate was at 6.6% in August, down from 7.1% in July.

The state’s jobless rate has decreased in each of the past four months and is currently lower than the United States average rate of 8.4%.

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Wyoming Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.6% In August

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment rate dropped again in August from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, the Department of Workforce Services announced this week.

The state’s unemployment rate was at 6.6% in August, down from 7.1% in July. The jobless rate has decreased in each of the past four months and is currently lower than the United States average rate of 8.4%.

Unemployment rates decreased in August in almost all Wyoming counties.

The largest decreases occurred in Washakie County (from 6.3% to 5.2%), Teton County (from 5.7% to 4.6%), Sweetwater County (down from 8.8% to 7.8%) and Sheridan County (down from 5.2% to 4.2%).

Lincoln County saw a slight rise in its rates, going from 5.4% to 5.7% in August. The smallest increases occurred in Albany County (from 3.1% to 3.3%) and Goshen County (from 3.6% to 4.3%).

Compared to August 2019, unemployment rates were up in every county, but the largest increases compared to one year ago were in Natrona County (from 3.7% to 9.4%), Sweetwater County (from 3.4% to 7.8%), Converse County (from 2.4% to 6.4%) and Campbell County (from 4.3% to 8.2%).

Natrona County had the highest unemployment rate in the state in August at 9.4%.

Other high unemployment rates in Wyoming were in Campbell County (8.2%), Sweetwater County (7.8%) and Uinta County (7.3%).

The lowest unemployment rates in Wyoming were seen in Albany County (3.3%) and Weston, Niobrara and Crook counties, all at 3.9%.

Total non-farm employment in Wyoming decreased from 297,000 in August 2019 to 277,200 this year, a decline of 20,700 or 6.9%.

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Wyoming Has Some Of The Fastest Recovering Unemployment Claims In Country

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has been ranked in the top 10 states when it comes to the fastest recovering unemployment rates, a recent study declared.

Wyoming placed tenth for improvements in its unemployment rate seen since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

Unemployment claims from the week of Sept. 10 compared to the same week last year are up by 150%, with 610 claims submitted last week vs. 244 the same week last year.

However, unemployment rates are down by 7.85% compared to the start of 2020, with 662 claims coming in the week of Jan. 1 compared to last week’s 610.

Unemployment rates are up 823.47% during the period from the beginning of the pandemic to last week when compared to the same period last year.

There were 63,827 unemployment claims in Wyoming between the week of March 16 and Sept. 9 compared to 7,751 between the week of March 18, 2019 and Sept. 9, 2019.

Oregon had the best recoveries when it came to unemployment claims over the last week and since the beginning of the pandemic. Kansas had the worst unemployment recoveries over the past week, but Georgia had the worst recoveries since the beginning of the pandemic.

WalletHub found that blue states’ unemployment claims are recovering faster than red states’ claims.

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Wyoming Ranked 49th Worst States To Work In During Pandemic

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming has been ranked as one of the worst states to work in during the pandemic, according to a report by Oxfam America.

Wyoming ranked 49th of 52 states and territories (the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were included in the report) in the analysis of Best States to Work In conducted by Oxfam, which describes itself as a “global organization working to end the injustice of poverty.”

Wyoming came in just below Mississippi, but higher than Georgia, Missouri and Alabama, respectively. Washington state, New Jersey and California took the three top spots in the ranking, respectively.

The nonprofit organization analyzed how the states stepped in to protect workers and provide them with access to health care and unemployment support during the period from Feb. 15 to July 1.

Wyoming ranked poorly in all three areas, according to the study.

In the area of protections for workers, which Oxfam said includes protections from being forced to return to work during the pandemic and providing child cared for essential workers, Wyoming scored 16.7 points out of a possible 100 for a 48th place ranking.

Oxfam ranked health care based on how well states stepped in to make sure their citizens had access to health care even if they lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Wyoming, with a score of 40, tied with five other states for 38th place nationally — Kansas, Nevada, Texas, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

For unemployment support, the analysis looked at whether states made it easier for those without jobs to obtain benefits and whether the states took steps to aid the unemployed such as imposing a moratorium on evictions or utility shutoffs.

Wyoming placed 45th nationally with a score of 24.7.

Researchers noted in the report that although the states fluctuate on their policies for unemployment, health care and worker protections, no state came close to having a perfect score.

“All the states — even those with the highest scores — have room for improvement,” the report said.

Oxfam’s recommendations at the end of the report included expanding Medicaid, increasing unemployment payments and improving worker protections.

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Wyoming Unemployment Falls To 7.1% In July

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell one-half percentage point from June to July, marking the continuation of a steady decrease since its peak at 9.6% in April.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services announced Tuesday that the state’s economy is gradually recovering from the large disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The unemployment rate fell from 7.6% in June to 7.1% in July. Unemployment rates fell in all 23 counties over that one-month period.

The largest unemployment rate decreases occurred in Teton County (from 9.4% to 5.7%), Lincoln County (from 6.7% to 5.4%), Carbon County (from 5.8% to 4.7%), Sublette County (from 8.4% to 7.5%) and Laramie County (from 6.7% to 5.8%).

Compared to last year, however, unemployment rates were higher in every county.

The largest increases in unemployment over the last year were seen in Natrona County (up from 3.7% to 10.2%), Sweetwater County (up from 3.9% to 8.8%), Converse County (up from 2.6% to 7%) and Uinta County (up from 3.9% to 8%).

The smallest unemployment increases over the last year were seen in Albany County (up from 3.6% to 3.9%), Goshen County (up from 3.7% to 4.7%) and Crook County (up from 3.4% to 4.4%).

Albany County’s rate of 3.9% was the lowest unemployment rate in Wyoming, followed by Niobrara County at 4.3%, Crook County at 4.4% and Weston County at 4.6%.

The highest unemployment rates in the state were found in Natrona County at 10.2%, Campbell and Sweetwater counties, both at 8.8% and Uinta County at 8%.

Total non-farm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 297,200 in July 2019 to 276,700 in July 2020, a decline of 20,500 jobs (6.9%).

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Wyoming Ranks 47th In Unemployment Recovery; Unemployment Claims Up By 900% In One year

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment claims have increased by more than 900% in just one year, according to a recent study.

The state ranked 47th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia when it came to how employment has recovered since the beginning of the coronavirus panademic. These findings came from personal finance website WalletHub.

Wyoming unemployment claims have increased 229.76% since the beginning of the year and 923% since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to March through August 2019.

Wyoming also was also ranked the 50th lowest state for employment recovery in the last week compared to the same time last year.

New Jersey ranked No. 1 for recoveries in the last week, but it was Connecticut that had recovered the most since the start of the pandemic.

George ranked dead last, both in terms of how quickly unemployment claims have recovered in the last week and since the beginning of the pandemic.

The coronavirus has wiped out all of the job gains since the great recession a decade ago. There were around 1 million jobless claims the first week of August.

Blue states’ unemployment claims also seem to be recovering faster than red states.

A University of Minnesota assistant professor attributed much of the employment recovery seen in the nation as stemming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act approved by Congress.

“The CARES Act is a remarkable piece of legislation. In a matter of days, this deeply divided Senate unanimously passed $2 trillion in spending,” University of Minnesota professor Alan Benson told the website. “The bill itself was really less of a shot and more of a shotgun. Rather than focusing on any one piece of the labor market, the CARES Act provided incentives for businesses to keep people employed, expanded unemployment insurance payments and coverage for those who lost their jobs, and direct stimulus payments to individuals below certain income thresholds. These responses had a double purpose: both as a personal lifeline and as a way to stimulate consumers.”

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Wyoming’s Unemployment Decline A Promising Sign, Says State Agency

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell by more than 1 percentage point in June, indicating the state is recovering from the economic hardships created by the coronavirus, a state agency announced Tuesday.

The Research and Planning section of the state Department of Workforce Services said Wyoming’s unemployment rate in June was set at 7.6%, compared to 8.8% in May.

“This decrease in unemployment suggests that Wyoming’s economy continues to recover from the sharp contraction seen in April,” the section’s monthly report on unemployment said. “It appears that the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of businesses have resulted in many individuals returning to work.”

The figures mean that in June, 22,832 of Wyoming’s workers were without jobs, a decline of 2,500 jobless from May figures. However, the number of unemployed in June was more than double the number seen in June of 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of workers with jobs grew by more than 11,000 during from May to total 278,504.The highest unemployment rate, 11%, was found in Natrona County, while Campbell County’s rate was 9.5% in June.

While the unemployment rate in June was lower than the national average of 11.2%, it was still a significant increase from 2019 figures, the report said.

“From June 2019 to June 2020, unemployment rates rose in every county,” it said.

Teton County’s unemployment rate more than quadrupled during the year, from 2.2% to 9.3%, while Natrona County’s almost tripled, from 4.1% in 2019 to 11% in June.

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Enzi: Wyoming Was Target of Nigerian Unemployment Insurance Fraud Ring

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, is concerned about how President Donald Trump’s administration is handling fraud and abuse by foreign entities regarding unemployment insurance.

“It’s concerning that my state of Wyoming was a target for a foreign fraud ring,” Enzi said during a Finance Committee hearing this week focused on unemployment insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, who testified at the hearing, said the virus upended a lot of things, including the ability to foil attempts to defraud the unemployment system.

Scalia said there are many different mechanisms in place to address the “highly-sophisticated criminal enterprises that have engaged in fraud in the system.”

“We are working with our inspector general, we’ve been working with other federal agencies and we’ve been working with the states,” Scalia said. “We will continue to work on it hard. We know it’s real. We know it’s in some cases interfering with the delivery of benefits to people who are entitled to them, so we will stay on it.”

In May, the Secret Service alerted several states that a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring was carrying out a sophisticated attack to fraudulently apply for and receive millions of dollars in unemployment insurance.

Washington state was the main target, but there was evidence of attacks in six other states, including Wyoming.

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Wyoming Unemployment Claims Dip In Last Week of May, Still Ahead Of Last Year

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The number of people filing new unemployment claims in Wyoming fell by more than 30% in the last week of May, but remained considerably higher than the number seen one year ago, according to a federal report.

The report from the U.S. Employment and Training Administration also showed that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in the state increased by more than eight-fold from figures seen one year ago.

The ETA’s regular report on unemployment claims from states showed that 1,926 people submitted new unemployment claims in the week ending May 30, a drop of 874 from the 2,800 to file for claims in the week ending May 23.

However, during the week ending June 1 in 2019, only 389 people filed new claims.For ongoing claims, the ETA reported Wyoming had 17,149 people receiving benefits in the week ending May 23, a drop of 482 — about 2.7% — from the previous week.

But in the same period last year, the number of people receiving benefits as of May 25 was set at 1,842, less than one-eighth of the totals seen this year.

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