Local jobless rates showed small gain in June

The sign at the Lander Workforce Center.

The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from May to June at 5.4%. Wyoming’s unemployment rate has stayed within the narrow range of 5.1% to 5.4% in each of the past nine months and is slightly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.9%. Wyoming’s current unemployment rate is much lower than its year-ago level of 7.4%.

In Fremont County, the jobless rate went from 5.7 percent in May to 6.1 percent in June, where 1.171 workers were without employment. Hot Springs County had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, an increase from the prior month’s 4.8 percent rate. That translates to 121 jobless workers. In Washakie County, the rate of jobless workers went up two tenths of a point, from 4.8 percent to 5 percent or 208 people looking for work.

Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased slightly from May to June. Jobless rates sometimes increase in June as young people join the labor force and start searching for work. The largest unemployment rates increases were seen in Campbell (up from 6.2% to 6.8%), Uinta (up from 6.0% to 6.6%), Albany (up from 4.4% to 4.9%), Crook (up from 3.9% to 4.4%), and Niobrara (up from 4.1% to 4.6%) counties. Jobless rates fell in Teton (down from 6.0% to 3.9%), Weston (down from 4.0% to 3.8%), Lincoln (down from 4.7% to 4.5%), and Park (down from 4.6% to 4.5%) counties.

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From June 2020 to June 2021, unemployment rates fell in most counties. The COVID-19 pandemic caused unemployment rates to be unusually high in June 2020, but in 2021 unemployment rates seem to be approaching more typical levels as the economy recovers. The largest decreases occurred in Teton (down from 8.3% to 3.9%), Natrona (down from 10.3% to 7.4%), Campbell (down from 9.4% to 6.8%), and Sweetwater (down from 9.3% to 7.1%) counties. Jobless rates increased very slightly in Big Horn (up from 5.1% to 5.2%) and Niobrara (up from 4.5% to 4.6%) counties.

The highest unemployment rates in June 2021 were reported in Natrona County at 7.4%, Sweetwater County at 7.1%, and Sublette County at 6.9%. The lowest unemployment rates were found in Weston County at 3.8%, Teton County at 3.9%, and Crook and Carbon counties, each at 4.4%.

Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) rose from 271,100 in June 2020 to 280,700 in June 2021, an increase of 9,600 jobs (3.5%). Nonfarm employment was unusually low in June 2020 because of widespread economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.