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Q2 2013 State Econ. Summary: Wyoming’s Recovery “Poised to Reaccelerate”

Anthony Pollreisz, K2 Radio

State economists say Wyoming’s economic recovery is ready to accelerate again after a slowdown in late 2012 and early 2013.

Wyoming Economic Analysis Division principal economist Wenlin Liu says construction, manufacturing and tourism will drive future recovery for the state, along with rebounding natural gas prices.

“For the second quarter of 2013, the natural gas spot price was $3.80 – compared with the second quarter of 2012, it was $2.15,” Liu said. “It looks like drilling activity for natural gas is getting stable.”

Liu says nearly every Wyoming industry saw a year-over-year employment increase in the second quarter of this year. The mining and logging industry, however, saw a nearly five percent decline.

Liu says, despite the job losses in logging and mining, state economists remain optimistic.

“The decline rate is much less than in previous quarters,” Liu said. “The other thing for coal mining, production dropped in 2012, but, for the second quarter of 2013, it looks like (it’s) recovering.”

Liu says Wyoming unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent last quarter. Residential building permits increased by nearly 27 percent.

Visitation at Yellowstone National Park increased seven percent from the previous year, while visitation at Grand Teton National Park was up just over six percent. Statewide lodging sales were up 4.5 percent.

High livestock prices, reduced supply and increased demand helped generate roughly $268 million in total farm earnings during the second quarter. Liu says those numbers were off from record highs seen during the first quarter of 2013, but he also says the figures from last quarter are similar to Q2 figures from 2012.

Investment income from the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund and other pooled agency accounts nearly doubled compared to Q2 figures last year, reaching $394 million. Liu says mineral severance taxes were about 6.5 percent lower than a year ago, generating $134.2 million for the state.

Personal income grew nearly two percent in Wyoming, while U.S. personal income grew 2.7 percent.

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