CHEYENNE – Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly last month, from 5.1% in November to 4.8% in December, continuing the significant downward trend from the 9.6% unemployment rate that emerged last April at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After initially rising, the state’s unemployment rate has decreased for eight months in a row and is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7%, according to the Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
Both statewide and county-level unemployment data suggest that Wyoming’s economic situation is steadily improving.
Most county unemployment rates changed very little from November to December. However, large decreases were seen in a few counties. Teton County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 3.9% as the winter tourist season ramped up. Jobless rates also fell in Natrona County (down from 7.1% to 6.5%), Converse County (down from 5.1% to 4.5%) and Campbell County (down from 5.8% to 5.2%).
From December 2019 to December 2020, unemployment rates rose in 19 counties, were unchanged in three counties, and fell slightly in Hot Springs County (down from 4.0% to 3.9%). The largest increases occurred in key energy producing areas of the state. Natrona County’s year-to-year unemployment rate rose from 4.2% to 6.5%, Campbell County’s rate rose from 3.1% to 5.2%, Converse County’s rate rose from 3.0% to 4.5%, and Sweetwater County’s rate rose from 4.5% to 5.8%. Jobless rates were unchanged from a year earlier in Fremont County (4.8%), Niobrara County (3.4%) and Platte County (4.1%).
Natrona County had the highest unemployment rate in the state at 6.5%, followed by Sweetwater County at 5.8% and Sublette County at 5.7%. The lowest rates were found in Albany and Weston counties, both at 3.0%, and Crook County at 3.1%.
Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) decreased from 285,800 in December 2019 to 273,500 in December 2020, a decline of 12,300 jobs (-4.3%).