jobs

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.


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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

University of Wyoming

College students are leaving the University of Wyoming into an unknown job market. Normally students would have jobs lined up, but these are not normal times. Jo Chytka is UW's Director of Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies. She joins Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck to discuss the situation.

Several news reporters in Wyoming lost their jobs or saw their hours cut this week, as the COVID-19 pandemic puts the squeeze on an already struggling industry.

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.

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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. 

Third-quarter 2019 data includes 529 mines that reported positive figures to MSHA. Third quarter 2019 reporting mines represent 99% of those that reported positive figures in the second quarter of 2019.
S & P Global Market Intelligence

Coal mine employment in the U.S. has fallen to nearly its lowest level since the industry began reporting it. The industry has lost 2,206 jobs since the start of this year, according to updated data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

"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.

Rocky Mountain Power plans to break ground on a $3.1 billion-dollar statewide wind energy project this week.

Nonfarm wage and salary employment.8 (Growth by Industry Sector: Year‐over‐year by percent and jobs; seasonally adjusted)
Wyoming Economic Analysis Division

Sales and use tax collection increased by nearly 11 percent for the state compared fiscal year 2018, according to a new report from Wyoming's Economic Analysis Division. Campbell and Converse Counties had the largest gains in collections each seeing about $10 million more.

Kamila Kudelska

It's a windy and freezing afternoon in Cody. A bunch of women are gathered around a table at the Chamberlin Inn in Cody, chatting about the dynamic of their relationships.

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