Report Shows State Economy Shrinking
A new state report shows Wyoming's economy shrank between June of 2014 and June of this year.
State economist Jim Robinson says the Wyoming Business Cycle Index (WBCI) shows a decrease of 1.71 percent over that period. The number of jobs in the state also declined by 0.7 percent over the same time. Total hours worked and hourly wages were also down.
Robinson says the decline of the state's oil and gas industry, which is due to low energy prices, is the biggest factor in the decline. He adds that numbers would be even worse if it weren't for the fact that tourism is doing very well in Wyoming this year, but he also notes that tourism jobs generally don't pay as well as the oil and gas industry jobs that have been disappearing.
Robinson says the state economy did well in February, but has been slowing down since then. He says over the next few months not as many jobs will probably be lost as has been the case recently, but he also doesn't expect much growth in the near future.
Robinson says the WBCI is designed to give an accurate overview of the state economy that can easily be understood. He says it includes the state unemployment rate, private sector weekly wages, mining taxes and national park visits. The last two factors are included to judge the health of Wyoming's two largest industries. mining (including oil and natural gas) and tourism.
The full report can be seen at the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division website.