Wyoming labor force is shrinking

Jan 23, 2013

Although Wyoming's unemployment rate dropped from November to December by 0.2 percent, the state labor force has also decreased by about 2,500 people in the last year, signaling that the economy might be worsening. 

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services Senior Economist David Bullard says the low unemployment rate doesn't tell the whole story about the state of Wyoming's economy.

"It's possible that some people are giving up on their job search and dropping out of the labor force," Bullard says.  "It's also possible that some people may be leaving the state to take jobs in other states or to search for jobs in other states."

Bullard says a slow-down in the oil and gas industries in Wyoming might also be contributing to a shrinking labor force.

"The rig count was down marginally during most of 2012 from 2011," Bullard says. 

Currently Wyoming's unemployment rate is just below five percent.