Wyoming Severance Tax Revenues Way Down
A new quarterly report on Wyoming's economy is confirming what everyone already knows--low oil and gas prices are continuing to have a big impact.
Jim Robinson, Principal Economist with the state's Economic Analysis Division, says state severance tax revenues are down by a staggering 39.4% for the first two months of Fiscal Year 2016 compared to the same time last year. Those taxes are collected on oil and gas as well as various other mineral resources.
Revenues from sales and use taxes are down by 14.5% statewide for the first three months of Fiscal Year 2016, with the biggest declines coming in Campbell, Natrona and Converse counties.
Robinson says the only sectors of the economy that are showing an increase in sales and use tax collections are leisure and hospitality (tourism), transportation and utilities, and information. The struggles of the oil and gas industries are also seen in the creation of new jobs, which Robinson says has been hovering near zero percent for the last few months.
There is also bad news in terms of jobless claims in the mining sector, which includes oil and gas. Those claims have been declining over the past six months, but showed an increase again in September, according to the report.
The oil rig count in September in Wyoming was also down from September 2014 by a count of 37 to 11, or a decline of 26 rigs.
He says the bad news from the energy industry tends to overshadow the fact that the tourism industry has had a very strong year, with National Park visits in Wyoming up by 12.1%. He says there has also been quite a bit of commercial construction across Wyoming over the last few months.
But until oil and gas prices improve, the overall state economy probably won't show big improvement, according to Robinson.