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Wyoming Unemployment Increases Significantly

Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to rise. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that due to a downturn in the energy sector, unemployment rose from 4.4 percent in December to 4.7 in January. 

State Senior Economist David Bullard said that unemployment saw a significant increase of almost a point from January of 2015. While energy rich areas have been impacted the most, Bullard said the downturn is impacting the entire state.

"If you look at unemployment rates compared to a year ago, they are up in 21 counties and only down in two, so most of the state is being affected by this."

After energy, Bullard said the construction and manufacturing sectors have taken the biggest hits. 

"A lot of manufacturing activity in the state is related to oil and gas. I mean manufacturing equipment that’s used for different oil and gas drilling or different processes and so with less drilling going on around the country there is less demand for that type of equipment."

The highest unemployment rate is in Fremont County at 8.1 percent with Natrona County following at 7.2 percent. From January of 2015 to January of 2016 Natrona County saw a loss of 33-hundred jobs, the largest decline in the state.

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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