Unemployment falls below 8%

CASPER — Wyoming’s unemployment rate fell to less than 8 percent in June, the state Department of Workforce Services announced Tuesday. 

The figure, which was at 8.8% in May, is now at 7.6% — significantly lower than the nationwide rate of 11.1%. The 1.2% drop suggests that the state’s economy is continuing to recover from the effects of restrictions put in place in the spring to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the department said in a news release. 

Wyoming’s unemployment rate is the 12th lowest nationwide. In May, the state had the third lowest jobless rate in the country. 

Natrona County had the state’s highest unemployment rate last month: 11%. 

The department attributes the improvement to some restrictions being lifted and businesses reopening. 

Teton County experienced the largest drop in unemployment — 15% to 9.3%. Park County (8.4% to 6.3%), Sheridan County (7.7% to 5.8%) and Sublette County (9.8% to 8.4%) also saw significant drops. 

However, the numbers are still up from a year ago in all 23 Wyoming counties. Teton County, which was at 2.2% a year ago, has seen the largest increase. Natrona (4.1% in 2019), Campbell (3.5% to 9.5%) and Sweetwater (3.9% to 9.4%) had the next largest increases. 

Campbell County had the second highest unemployment rate in the state last month, followed by Sweetwater and Teton counties. 

Albany County’s 4.5% unemployment rate was the lowest in the state in June, followed by Niobrara (4.8%), Goshen (4.8%) and Crook (4.9%) counties. 

Total non-farm employment in Wyoming, which is not seasonally adjusted, fell by 7% from June 2019 to June 2020, a loss of 21,000 jobs (298,500 to 277,500). 

State health officials have extended coronavirus restrictions in Wyoming through the end of the month, though they are still less strict than they were at the beginning of the outbreak. 

The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, which announced Tuesday’s numbers, is expected to provide unemployment figures for July on Aug. 25.