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Mining industry is slowing down employment recovery in Wyoming

Friedemann Vogel
Getty Images

The state’s new economic summary report shows that while some industries have recovered, the 56-hundred mining industry job losses have not been replaced.

Wyoming Economic Analysis Division Chief Economist Wenlin Liu said while unemployment is the lowest it's been since 2019, there are other challenges.

“Our job growth rate or recovery rate is still not as strong as the rest of the U.S. The main reason is, number one, we are dragged by the slow recovery of the mining industry,” said Liu. “The number two reason is, Wyoming has a higher proportion of baby boomer population.”

Liu said many boomers are retiring and that reduces the labor market.

In the fourth quarter of 2021 Wyoming had ten thousand fewer jobs when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

“The main reason is it’s dragged down by the mineral extraction industry. The mineral extraction industry is still behind over 5,000 jobs or 27 percent behind or lower than pre-COVID. However, our employment for retail trade and professional and business services already surpassed pre-covid levels,” said Liu

While employment numbers in the energy industry are down, he noted that mineral severance tax revenue is the highest it has been since 2014. He said that’s because of oil and gas prices that are the highest they’ve been in several years.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.
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