CASPER (AP) — Wyoming’s unemployment rate ticked up in February.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says the February rate was 5.3%, up from 5.1% in January and 5.2% in December.

The increase ended a downward trend in unemployment that followed the easing of coronavirus public health orders.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate reached 8.5% last May but fell over the summer, reaching 5.4% in October.

Still, Wyoming’s rate this past February was nearly 1 point lower than the U.S. average.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Wyoming had about 15,000 fewer jobs than it did a year earlier.

Natrona County in February had Wyoming’s highest unemployment, 8.9%.

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