employment

As the economy reopens, restaurants remain far from pre-pandemic employment levels.

The wind and solar industries made historic gains last year. Both reached new highs in energy production and capacity in 2020.


Adobe Stock


Rebecca Travers lives in Casper, Wyo. Until late last year, the 42-year-old had been working at a non-profit that helps volunteer organizations across the state.

In May of 2020, the Converse County trailer park quickly emptied out after the pandemic hit and oil and gas activity declined.
Cooper McKim

Gov. Mark Gordon will use $15 million in CARES Act funds to create the Energy Rebound Program, a program intended to boost oil and gas activity in Wyoming. At the moment, there are five active rigs in the state compared to 25 at the beginning of the year.

Jeff Victor


Wyoming, like many states, has tried to strike a balance between letting businesses operate and slowing the spread of COVID-19. But businesses are struggling to keep their doors open amid a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.

The Crowbar and Grill in downtown Laramie had to radically alter its operations when COVID-19 hit Wyoming in March.

The sugar beet harvest is underway across the Mountain West.

It’s a big industry that depends on accurate weather forecasts and a reliable workforce – both impacted by COVID-19. 

Amid the economic downturn, Idaho and Utah have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Downtown Laramie, Wyoming
Bob Beck


It was a rough spring for Wyoming's workforce. Unemployment skyrocketed with the closure of many businesses due to COVID-19. The federal government provided assistance, but it took awhile to get the roughly $336 million it paid out into people's hands. Robin Cooley is the director of Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. She told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that when the pandemic hit in Wyoming, things changed quickly.

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed on Saturday funds a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. But it likely won't be as helpful as it seems.


All photos credit to Brittany Patterson, Ohio Valley ReSource

On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background - nature's version of a white noise machine.

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.

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%.

Loading...

Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET

New claims for unemployment benefits climbed to 281,000 last week as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and left people out of work, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they totaled 299,000.

While some states are getting deluged with so many unemployment claims their computers are crashing, President Trump continues to downplay the impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy.

Trump dismissed a worst-case scenario described by his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in which U.S. unemployment could soar as high as 20%.

"We're no way near it," Trump said.

On January 27, oil and gas company Southland Royalty Company filed for bankruptcy. Wyoming's 15th largest natural gas producer said in a filing, "the debtor has suffered from the industry's general and sustained decline over the past several years." It went on to say the company would be taking drastic measures to get back to profitability.

Courtesy the Sweetwater County Historical Museum

The coal capital of the U.S. is taking a harder look at diversifying its economy. The city of Gillette and Campbell County are being forced to adjust to a world with less demand for its resource. But a former coal capital could help provide wisdom.

Wyoming Bureau of Land Management attribution 2.0 generic (CC by 2.0)

Jim Robinson, principal economist for the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, said when he looks at Wyoming's economy in the coming year, it's not going to bring news that anyone wants to hear. 

The Mountain West is home to some of the top performing metro economies in 2019, according to a recent report by Area Development magazine, a publication focused on corporate site selection.

Topping the magazine’s overall rankings is Reno, Nevada, which, as the report notes, boasts a total employment rate more than triple the national average.

Wikipedia Commons, Isaiah979

Adidas' Yeezy line has picked out a property in Cody for its sample-prototype lab. Kanye West's fashion brand has plans to convert the Cody Labs warehouse.

Public Domain license

It's already been a noteworthy season for Steamboat Ski Resort in Northern Colorado. In October alone, the mountain saw 63 inches of snow, a record high. And that's why the resort's Loryn Duke said it was an easy decision to open on November 15—it's earliest opening ever.

The United States added more than 200,000 jobs last month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While wages and jobs are growing in the Mountain West, they aren’t outpacing the skyrocketing cost of housing. 

"You Can Love Wyoming And Not See A Future There"

Nov 8, 2019
Mackenzie Muirhead and Sarah Mock

Sarah Mock and Mackenzie Muirhead both loved growing up in Cheyenne. Now, as they build lives and careers in Washington, D.C., they both dream about giving back to the communities that raised them. For Wyoming Public Radio's "Belonging" series, Sarah and Mackenzie talked about their changing relationship to Wyoming, and how a lack of jobs in their chosen fields - journalism and foreign affairs, respectively - prevents them from moving back.

The Mountain West will be getting at least two new Amazon warehouses this year, including Idaho’s first in Nampa.

The Bureau of Land Management is moving more staff and—perhaps most significantly—its headquarters to the Mountain West.

Depending on who you ask, relocating the BLM’s headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado will make the agency more efficient, give preferential treatment to the fossil fuel industry—or even functionally dismantle it.

Along with its new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to our region. But, there is some confusion on the specifics.

Charles Fournier

Recent Torrington High School graduates Quentin Meyer and Ryan Walson love Wyoming as it is. For our "Belonging" series, the childhood friends sat down to reflect on the agriculture and stories that pull them to stay while acknowledging the career possibilities that may draw their lives outside of the state they hold dear.

A recent report looking at the best states to work in doesn't show the Mountain West in a particularly good light. Only one state in our region ranked in the top half.

Cooper McKim

On a bright morning outside Gillette, Darlene Rea is getting ready to job search. She might visit Sheridan this afternoon. Until two months ago, Rea worked in Blackjewel's warehouse - receiving freight, writing invoices and finding parts. But since the coal company's abrupt bankruptcy, she's been stuck looking for work.

Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a Campbell County organization a grant aimed at diversifying the economy.

Catherine Wheeler

In January 2018, gun manufacturer Weatherby announced it was moving from its home in California and resettling in Sheridan. The company makes rifles, shotguns and ammunition. The move signified a chance for more economic diversification in the Sheridan area. Last month, Weatherby opened for business north of downtown. Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler asked owner and CEO Adam Weatherby why he decided to move the business to Wyoming.

Pages