Wyoming Lost 11,500 Jobs In 2016
A new state report shows Wyoming lost 11,500 jobs last year.
But the MACRO report from the Economic Analysis Division of the Department of Administration and Information also shows jobless claims from the first two months of this year are down by 27 percent compared to the same time last year. The mining sector of the state economy has seen 76.6 percent fewer jobless claims during the first two months of this year compared to the same time last year.
The news on sales tax collections is not good. For the first nine months of the fiscal year 2017 (which began on July 1, 2016), sales tax collections are down by 12.9 percent, which is doubly bad news. Since it provides most of the money for local governments across Wyoming it means many cities and counties are continuing to face a big drop in revenues.
The other concern raised by the low sales tax collections is that sales taxes are often considered one of the most accurate measurements of the overall health of the economy since they are collected on business transactions.
Meanwhile, mineral severance taxes, which are a major source of revenues for the state, were down by 10.3 percent for the first eight months of FY 2017. Senior State Economist Jim Robinson says overall the numbers in the new report show the same trend as other recent economic surveys in Wyoming.
"It looks like things have bottomed out," he says. "Things aren't getting much worse but they also aren't getting better." Robinson adds.
He says there is no way to know when the state economy might improve. That's because it is mostly tied to mineral and energy prices, which are beyond state control.