Wyoming has been mired in a border-to-border recession tied to the downturn coal, oil and natural gas production.
In an encouraging sign after two years of statewide recession, personal income for the average Wyoming resident grew in the first three months of 2017.
It's the first increase since mid-2015. The state has been mired in a border-to-border recession tied to the downturn coal, oil and natural gas production. The energy recession has led to the loss of thousands of jobs in the state.
Led by improvement in the mining sector, personal income grew 1.1 percent in the first quarter of 2017 over the last quarter of 2016.
Hint of recovery
State analysts said the increase doesn't mean Wyoming's economic problems are over, but it does signal that the state is recovering,
"We're coming off five quarters in a row where the news wasn't very good," Wyoming state economist Jim Robinson said. "We're starting to climb out of it now, and that's good news for Wyoming."
It's the first time Wyoming's personal income has increased since the July-to-September period of 2015. Personal income includes wages, dividends and interest and government benefits such as Social Security.
Wyoming's region outpaced the nation slightly in personal income growth. Nationwide, personal income grew by 1 percent in the first quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.
The Rocky Mountain region, which includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, grew 1.1 percent.
Within the region, Idaho was first, with 1.6 percent growth, followed by Utah, 1.2 percent; Montana and Wyoming at 1.1 percent; and Colorado at 0.9 percent.
Wyoming personal income grew in 19 of the 24 industries tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The biggest gain was 2.9 percent in the mining sector, which includes oil and gas. Construction was next, gaining 2.8 percent.