The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.2% in December to 5.1% in January. Wyoming has recently completed a comprehensive annual revision of its unemployment data. The revised data show that the state’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.5% in May 2020 and has steadily decreased since then. Wyoming’s January unemployment rate of 5.1% was much lower than the U.S. rate of 6.3%.
Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased from December to January. Unemployment rates often rise in January as seasonal job losses are seen in many sectors, including construction, retail trade, transportation & warehousing, leisure & hospitality, and government. The largest jobless rate increases were seen in Sublette (up from 6.7% to 8.3%), Big Horn (up from 4.7% to 6.2%), Niobrara (up from 3.9% to 5.2%), and Hot Springs (up from 4.4% to 5.6%) counties.
From January 2020 to January 2021, unemployment rates rose in nearly every county. The largest increases were seen in areas of the state dominated by the energy sector. Converse County’s unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 6.7%, Natrona County’s rate rose from 5.2% to 8.2%, Campbell County’s rate rose from 4.4% to 7.0%, and Sweetwater County’s rate rose from 6.2% to 7.7%. In contrast to those increases, Big Horn County’s unemployment rate was unchanged from a year earlier at 6.2%.
The lowest unemployment rates in Wyoming were found in Weston County at 3.8%, Crook County at 4.0%, and Teton County at 4.2%. Sublette County reported the highest unemployment rate at 8.3%. It was followed by Natrona County at 8.2%, Sweetwater County at 7.7%, Campbell County at 7.0%, and Converse County at 6.7%.
Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 282,400 in January 2020 to 265,900 in January 2021, a decline of 16,500 jobs (-5.8%).
Research & Planning has scheduled the February unemployment news release for March 29, 2021.