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Washakie County had highest increase in unemployment

The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported Monday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.8% in February to 3.7% in March.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate was higher than its March 2022 level of 3.3% and slightly higher than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5%. From February to March, seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents rose by 1,467 individuals (0.5%) as people returned to work. Additionally, the state’s labor force, which is comprised of employed and unemployed individuals, rose by 7,027 people, or 2.4% from March 2022 to March 2023.

From February to March, most county unemployment rates remained fairly stable. Notable increases in unemployment were seen in Washakie (up from 4.6% to 5.8%), Hot Springs (up from 3.2% to 3.8%), Converse (up from 2.8% to 3.2%), and Sweetwater (up from 4.7% to 5.1%) counties.

Senior economist David Bullard said the increase in Washakie County is not unusual due to the seasonal manufacturing in the area. “Seasonal layoffs can affect that number,” he said.

Statewide, Bullard said unemployment rates will typically decline in the summer with construction and hospitality jobs.

Niobrara County’s unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 3.5%.

From March 2022 to March 2023, unemployment rates rose in 20 counties and fell in three counties. The largest increases occurred in Washakie (up from 4.4% to 5.8%) and Carbon (up from 3.7% to 4.5%) counties. Jobless rates fell in Weston (down from 3.2% to 2.7%), Campbell (down from 3.9% to 3.6%), and Converse (down from 3.4% to 3.2%) counties.

While the overall unemployment rate increased, so did the labor force and number of persons employed. Washakie County showed an increase in the labor force from February of 3,843 persons and from 3,814 in March 2022 to 3,866 in March 2023. number of persons employed in the county in March was 3,659, which actually was an increase from February (3,644) and March 2022 (3,648). Number of actual persons unemployed was 224 in March, compared to 177 in February and 166 in March 2022.

In March, Teton County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6%. It was followed by Weston County at 2.7% and Converse County at 3.2%. The highest unemployment rates were reported in Washakie County at 5.8%, Sweetwater County at 5.1%, and Fremont County at 4.9%.

Total nonfarm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) rose from 277,400 in March 2022 to 284,100 in March 2023, an increase of 6,700 jobs (2.4%).

Research & Planning has scheduled the April unemployment news release for May 22, 2023.

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