Wyoming Economic Summary: Unemployment Rate at Lowest Since 2008
A new edition of the Wyoming Economic Summary Report is now available. This quarterly publication highlights the state's economic conditions.
Chief Economist Wenlin Liu highlights that "On the whole, Wyoming recorded approximately 7,100 or 2.5% more payroll jobs in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the prior year. The mining industry (including oil & gas extraction), private education & health services, and government (including public education and hospitals) led this growth with over 1,000 jobs, respectively. The unemployment rate of 3.3 percent was the lowest since the third quarter of 2008."
Liu reports that as energy businesses maintained their drilling activities, Wyoming’s labor market continued to expand in the second quarter of 2023, and the performance in the first half of 2023 was moderately better than the second half of 2022.
Employment in the mining industry showed a year-over-year increase of 7.0 percent. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, the state's total employment bounced back.
The mining industry, wholesale trade, and government payroll jobs were still lagging, but employment in professional & business services had already surpassed the pre-COVID level by approximately 1,400 jobs.
Other large private employers such as retail trade, private education & health services, and leisure & hospitality also had more payroll jobs than the pre-COVID levels.
Total taxable sales grew 11.7 percent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the prior year. This strong performance was mostly attributed to continued rebound in the mining and expansion in the utilities sector. "New wind power projects made a contribution, and elevated inflation has also played a significant role for the growth."
Liu says the "substantial retreat" in petroleum and natural gas prices could be the main reason behind significant drops in mineral severance taxes. With the weak stock market, the realized capital gains from the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund (PWMTF) investment for fiscal year 2023 was only $19.4 million, compared to 280.7 million for fiscal year 2022.
The U.S. housing market, particularly in home sales, entered a sharp slowdown last summer after the Federal Reserve quickly ended a real-estate boom which was fueled by the pandemic and record-low interest rates. Though decelerating, Wyoming's single-family home prices continue to trend upward (2.4%) in the second quarter compared to a year ago, while the U.S.'s appreciation also slowed to 3.0%.
Voting at Industrial Building, Natrona County Fairgrounds
Gallery Credit: Tom Morton
Fair Flair at the Central Wyoming Carnival
Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media