Wyoming Economic Report Contains Few Surprises
A new report on Wyoming's economy seems to show the worst may be over for the state's mining and energy industries, but at the same time it may be a while before the economy really improves.
It shows overall statewide employment fell by 9,400 jobs between August of 2015 and the same time this year. There were 2,800 fewer people working in Wyoming's oil and gas industries in August compared to a year earlier.
Unemployment claims for all sectors fo the economy were up by a little over 15 percent last month compared to September of 2015.
But there were a few bright spots in terms of jobs. The education and health and manufacturing sectors of the economy added a total of 1,300 jobs between August of 2015 and the same time this year, bucking the overall trend of job losses.
Not surprisingly in view of low energy prices overall, overall production in the energy industries is down this year compared to the same time in 2015. As of September year-to-date, coal production was down in Wyoming by 25 percent. July figures for the state show oil production down by 15 percent and natural gas production declining by 10 percent compared to a year earlier.
Senior State Economist Jim Robinson says there was good news for natural gas prices, which generally trended upwards over the quarter.
For the first three months of Fiscal Year 2017, which started on July 1, overall sales and use tax collections were down by 16.7 percent. Sales tax revenues for Natrona County were down by 21.7 percent, while Laramie County saw a decline of 11.4 percent.
State severance tax collections were down by 26.5 percent for the first two months of the fiscal year compared to last year.
Robinson says an overall reading of the numbers seems to show that in terms of commodity prices and job losses "we have seen the worst of it. Does it get a lot better soon? That part we just don't know yet."