CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — New figures show that more than half of the counties in Wyoming have lost population.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that U.S. Census Bureau figures indicate Wyoming's population contracted by about 1,200 people last year, continuing a downward trend over three consecutive years.

Officials say the population decrease follows the departure of energy industry workers resulting from a downturn in the coal, oil and natural gas industries.

The census figures show the most recent population decreases for a 12-month period ending in July 2018 had the greatest impact on Hot Springs, Washakie and Carbon counties.

However, the figures also show that Wyoming's population grew over the past decade by 2.5%, or about 14,000 people.

Wyoming's Economic Analysis Division says the state unemployment rate has fallen below 4%.

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