Economy

Kamila Kudelska

In mid-March, right before the COVID-19 pandemic fully hit the United States, professional bullfighter Dusty Tuckness was at Rodeo Houston in Texas. He said it was going well, until soon, it got shut down.

Maggie Mullen


The first time Mark Ritchie and Leah Hardy laid eyes on their new camper, it was after they'd bought it.

"It was like, 'Oh my God, it's tiny.' Which was great," Ritchie said recently while standing outside their home in Laramie, Wyo. "It made me feel actually more confident dragging it around. Because when I see people with giant trailers, I go, 'Thank God that's not me.'"

Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Park County's tourism numbers are slowly increasing as the state reopens.

Yellowstone National Park kept its gates closed until mid-May and both of its entrances in Wyoming opened for day use only.

Park County Travel Council Executive Director Claudia Wade said since then Cody and the county have seen a steady increase of tourists but nothing like what was originally predicted.

Professor James Arvanitakis is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship as the Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor – University of Wyoming. A former economist and free market advocate, James changed his position after witnessing child and indentured labour. After 9 years of working in finance, he has since worked with a cross-section of organizations across Australia, Asia, the Pacific and Europe.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Short-term vacation rental bookings are surging across the Mountain West, even as the region grapples with a growing number of coronavirus cases.

 


Taylar Stagner

Riverton has seemingly returned to normal from months of closed businesses, social distancing, and mask-wearing. This while Fremont County has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state.

Even so, Riverton Mayor Richard Guard said that people are happy to get back to work.

Roger Sylvia; This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Tourism is the second largest industry in the state. The summer of 2019 was a big year for the industry. More than three billion dollars were spent in the state and tourism generated $230 million in tax revenues. Wyoming Office of Tourism Executive Director Diane Shober said the state had set even loftier goals for 2020. But when Shober spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska, she said this year COVID-19 has hit tourism hard but there is hope that things could improve.

Hotel slowdowns alone could cost states in the Mountain West more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.


Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Tourism is the second largest industry in the state and has been hit hard by COVID-19. Wyoming Office of Tourism's Diane Shober said the tourism outlook for this summer was grim when COVID-19 first hit.

National Park Service

Tourism numbers are helping the state out at a crucial time.

That's according to Gov. Mark Gordon, who in a press conference on Tuesday, June 16, said, business owners across the state are reporting higher sales tax from tourism than what was expected under the ongoing pandemic.

Yellowstone Forever

The official nonprofit organization of Yellowstone National Park laid off more than 30 employees and closed its education branch.

Most businesses in the outdoor recreation industry are seeing sales decline because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and 88% are reporting that they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.

Catherine Wheeler

Gov. Mark Gordon and leaders from some of the top rodeos in the state this month announced the major events would be canceled this year. That's due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health safety measures that would have to be put in place for those events. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with Billy Craft and Zane Garstad, the president and vice president of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo. First, Craft explained how they came to the decision to put the 90th anniversary celebration on hold this year.

Wyoming Department of Health - State of Wyoming


In early 2020, very few people had ever heard of Dr. Alexia Harrist. Since that time, the State Health officer has become a well-known and important figure as she tries to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrist has lately been opening things up. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that she's optimistic as the state deals with tourists and other challenges.

Public Domain


The COVID-19 pandemic has grown worse in Wyoming since the state started loosening restrictions last month, and health experts are saying the two are likely related.

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday that the U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February. 

It may seem obvious, with double-digit unemployment and plunging economic output. But if there was any remaining doubt that the U.S. is in a recession, it's now been removed by the official scorekeepers at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee — the fat lady of economic opera — said the expansion peaked in February after a record 128 months, and we've been sliding into a pandemic-driven recession since.

Updated at 4:13 p.m. ET

The U.S economy rebounded with surprising strength last month as businesses began to reopen from the coronavirus lockdown. U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%.

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Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed unemployment to its highest level since the Great Depression, but the pace of layoffs has been easing. And there are now some signs that the job market could slowly start to recover.

The Labor Department says another 1.87 million people filed claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down 249,000 from the previous week. While still very high by historical standards, the number has been declining steadily from a peak of 6.8 million the week ending March 28.

by Billy Hathorn via CC BY-SA 3.0

A nightly rodeo in Cody is set to start June 20, after a second variance request was approved for the Cody Nite Rodeo. The approved variance allows a maximum of 600 people in the stadium.

After months of refining their business plans, the Wind River Startup Challenge's five finalists pitched a panel of judges on Saturday. Each Native-owned businesses was awarded a portion of the challenge's $25,000 seed fund, but the big winners were a hair salon and a fencing company, which received $10,000 each in debt-free capital.

Warner Brothers

As major summer events throughout the state get canceled, one more has been added to the list. The Longmire Days festival in Buffalo has called off its in-person activities this year.

The annual festival celebrates the books and subsequent television show about the fictional Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. The books' author Craig Johnson based the town of Durant, Wyoming on Buffalo.

Catherine Wheeler

What was supposed to be the 90th celebration of the Sheridan WYO Rodeo has been canceled. The cancelation comes in conjunction with several other major rodeos in the state opting to shut down this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Forty-two states are not prepared for a pandemic-induced recession. That’s the finding of a recent analysis from Moody’s Analytics. In the Mountain West, the prognosis isn’t as bad as it might seem at first.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects Senate Republicans will begin considering proposals for a "fourth and final" coronavirus response bill to address the needs of the country "in about a month."

McConnell said the bill will be narrowly crafted and will focus in particular on jobs and schools. He said there could be funding for small businesses and health care, but he will not support extending the additional $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits that run out at the end of July.

Some outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted in Wyoming this summer. Gov. Mark Gordon announced the revision to a state public health order during a press briefing on Wednesday.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo, has been cancelled for the first time in its 124-year history.

Public Domain

Wyoming's unemployment rate more than doubled in a just month, increasing from 3.8 percent in March to 9.2 percent in April. The largest job losses were seen in the leisure and hospitality industry, with Teton County being hit the hardest at 18.3 percent due to their dependency on tourism.

National Park Service; Yellowstone Forever

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks partially re-opened this week and visitors from around the country are already flocking to the celebrated destinations. The parks are not back to normal quite yet as many facilities remain closed including campgrounds, restaurants, and entrances into Yellowstone from Montana and Idaho. In a press conference, Governor Mark Gordon said the goal is not to have the destinations overwhelmed.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

If you want a hearty breakfast in the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, Minnie's Montana Cafe has you covered.

 


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