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Wyoming Considered One Of America’s Hardest-Working States

in News
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is considered the nation’s third hardest-working state, according to a recent study.

Personal finance website WalletHub recently ranked all 50 states on how hard their employees work, and Wyoming came in third behind North Dakota and Alaska, respectively.

WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 key indicators, ranging from average work week hours to the share of workers with multiple jobs to annual volunteer hours per resident.

Wyoming had the third-highest average work week hours and the lowest average leisure time spent per day (although Wyoming tied with Montana for that one).

The state also ranked 13th when it came to its share of workers with multiple jobs and 24th for annual volunteer hours per resident.

West Virginia was ranked as the least hard-working.

The average American only uses 54% of their available vacation time, according to WalletHub.

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Wyoming Unemployment Falls To 7.1% In July

in Unemployment/News/Coronavirus
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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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Public sector tries new approach to solutions for private industries

in Economic development/News/Education
Wyoming Next Gen partnership workforce
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By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

Few kids see the construction trades as a potential career choice these days, but a new partnership between Wyoming’s public and private sectors is working to change that.

“The Next Gen Sector Partnership is an opportunity to bring industries’ priorities to the center stage,” said Hayley McKee, a Wyoming Department of Workforce Services spokesperson.  “It’s an opportunity for these teams to work together in an aligned approach rather than a siloed approach.”

Initiated in spring 2018, the partnership was designed to position industry professionals as the leaders in economic growth, with the public sector following their lead. 

“In the end, it’s about creating good jobs,” McKee said. “And connecting people with good jobs.”

In Laramie County, Next Gen has already experienced a measure of success, she said.

Larry Fodor, a project manager for the Cheyenne-based Mechanical Systems Inc., said he is working with the partnership to highlight the benefits of in the trades.

“We hope to improve the image and perception of the construction industry,” Fodor said. “The construction industry, in general, is not the dirty, unsafe industry it used to be.” 

Fodor and Next Gen have worked with Laramie County School District No. 1 to coordinate a bus tour for school counselors and staff, visiting several construction businesses around Cheyenne, he said. The initiative can help school district staff and students learn about a variety of construction-based career opportunities, providing details on wages, benefits packages and training options.

“It’s allowed us to show a side-by-side comparison of what a graduate with a bachelor’s degree earns right out of college vs. a journeyman, who’s spent a similar amount of time learning his trade while getting paid,” Fodor explained. “We’ve seen a strong response to the Next Gen approach.”

After working construction in Laramie County for more than a decade, he said the partnership is a refreshing approach to recurring challenges.

“Next Gen as a whole is a new way of looking at solving old problems,” Fodor said. “These problems have been talked about for years without any meaningful way of getting together and moving toward a goal.”

McKee said Next Gen allows entities such as the Wyoming Workforce Development Council, Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Department of Education and Workforce Services to use data to identify challenges in regions across Wyoming, then approach industry leaders in those regions with an invitation to help develop a solution.

“In Laramie county, they selected trades as their area to focus on,” she explained. “But in other regions, they have looked at finance, healthcare and hospitality to name just a few.”

Still in its infancy, Next Gen could help develop struggling economic sectors, stabilizing Wyoming’s boom-bust cycle while reducing the number of young professionals leaving the state in search of jobs, McKee said.

“It’s not necessarily just challenges, but often the partnership is working to build opportunities as well,” she said. “These initiatives are just starting, and they have selected focus areas, but later on down the line, there are other industries that are prime for partnership.”

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