Wyoming Economist: Cheyenne Numbers ‘Pretty Good,’ Casper Mixed
Senior Wyoming Economist Jim Robinson says the latest economic indicators for Cheyenne include more positives than negatives, while the outlook for Casper is a mixed bag.
Robinson said the Cheyenne economy gets an index number of 107.62 for March on his economic indicators scale. That is up from a February score of 107.25 and a March 2017 index of 104.53. Robinson said the overall report for Cheyenne's economy is "pretty good," noting the big negative for Cheyenne over the past year has been a loss of about 700 government jobs, resulting in a net non-farm job loss of 300 jobs.
But the private-sector job count is up by 400 jobs in a year-over-year comparison, and sales and use tax collections in Laramie County for the first three months of 2018 were up by 10.7 percent.
Weekly earnings in Cheyenne are also up, as are home sales.
The outlook in Casper is more mixed, according to Robinson's report. Casper's latest index score was 94.79, down from a March 2017 index of 95.58. The year-over-year job comparison shows an increase of 600 jobs or about 1.6 percent, and private sector jobs have increased by 700 over that same period.
Casper sales tax collections are up by $600,000 in a year-over-year comparison, and private wages are up as well.
But median home prices in Casper have taken a big hit, with a median price of $189,000 in March, compared to a median price of $210,000 a year earlier. Robinson said he largely attributes that to the after-effects of job and population losses over the last few years.
He said that if oil prices can remain in the low-$70 a barrel range for the next three months or so, it should start to boost the Casper-area economy.