© 2023 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Fewer Youth In Wyoming's Workforce

Wyoming’s economy is growing, but the state has not made up for job losses from 2009 and 2010. And that’s hit Wyoming’s young adults especially hard.

A report from Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services found that the number of young adults working in the state has declined 22 percent over the past decade.

There has been a slight decrease in the number of 18 to 20-year-olds living in the state, but Michelle Holmes with the Department’s Research and Planning office says that doesn’t fully explain the steep decline.  Holmes says young adults are simply being left behind on hiring.

“If we look just at the period from 2010 until now, we see that hiring for all age groups [has increased] roughly around 14 percent,” says Holmes. “But that 18 to 20-year-old, the hiring has only increased by 3.8 percent, so that’s a pretty glaring difference.”

The Department’s manager of Research and Planning, Tom Gallagher, says these changes represent a new reality for young people.

“Fewer young people are getting that first exposure to the world of work,” says Gallagher. “They’re going through a couple of years without having some sort of practical social experience—not just the economic experience of having a job—but the social experience of having a job. We don’t know what the long-term impacts of that are.”

Gallagher says his Department hopes to study those impacts to see how early work experience impacts later work performance.

Of the 18 to 20-year-olds hired in Wyoming in the first quarter of this year, more than half took jobs in leisure and hospitality and retail trade. 

Related Content