Wyoming recorded approximately 7,000 more payroll jobs in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year, a 2.6% increase, with leisure and hospitality leading the growth with 3,100 more jobs, or a 9.7% increase.

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According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wyoming recorded 279,693 jobs in February 2022, up from 278,283 in December, 277,176 in June, and 276,131 in January 2021.

Unemployment in Wyoming has also decreased, going from around 5% at the end of 2020, to around 4% at the end of 2021, while during that same period, unemployment nationally has decreased from under 7% to 4.2%

Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief Economist with the Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis, said in a press release:

"Despite the strong rebound in energy prices, employment in the mining industry, including oil and gas extraction, showed a year-over-year increase of only 2.7 percent, due to the slow rebound in drilling activities," Liu said, which translated to an increase of 400 jobs.

However, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, the state's total employment still lagged behind by around 10,000 jobs, mostly due to the mining industry losing 5,600 jobs, or a 26.9% decrease, over that time period.

Employment in retail trade and professional and business services had surpassed the pre-COVID level by approximately 1,000 jobs each, while the leisure and hospitality sector has also recovered to the pre-COVID-19 level.

According to a press release by the Economic Analysis Division, total taxable sales grew 11.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year due to continued expansions in retail sales, leisure and hospitality services, and the moderate rebound in mining.

Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks recorded their second-highest visitation figures in their history for the fourth quarter of 387,555 and 361,419 visits respectively.

Mineral severance taxes generated in the fourth quarter were higher than a year ago at $213.6 million, an increase of 68.6%, and the largest amount since the third quarter of 2014.

Natrona County was slightly below the average with an increase of 10.3% in taxable sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, while Niobrara County had the greatest increase of 41.9%, and Carbon County had the biggest decrease at -44.6%.

Liu said total taxable sales have increased because of several sectors seeing a rebound.

"Compared to the pre-COVID level of the fourth quarter 2019, the mining industry was still down by 44%, but the state's total taxable sales were 1.3 percent higher, attributed mainly to about a 20% expansion in both retail trade and leisure and hospitality, respectively," Liu said. "Heightened inflation has also played a significant role for the strong growth."

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