An official with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Research and Planning section says that while the state jobless rate was down slightly in July compared to the month before, that news isn't as good as it seems at first glance.

Tom Gallagher says first of all the drop was so slight, 4.2% to 4.1%, that it doesn't really mean very much.

But he says the bigger problem is that a loss of higher paying oil and gas industry jobs is being largely offset by relatively low paying jobs in other sectors, especially the tourist industry.

Although tourism industry jobs in particular tend to increase in the summer months, Gallagher says the trend of more people working in lower paying jobs has been happening since January or February. It includes a drop not only in oil and gas industry jobs, but related fields such as oilfield service companies, which also tend to be higher paying jobs.

Another concern with the July numbers is not only the trend towards lower paying jobs, but also the fact that sectors of the economy seeing growth--tourism and construction--tend to be seasonal in nature. People working in those areas could face layoffs in the fall and winter months.

Natrona County's jobless rate fell from 4.8% in June to 4.4% in July.. Laramie County's jobless rate fell from 3.7% to 3.4% over the same time.