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County jobless report positive

Dec 9, 2013 - By Steve Peck, Publisher

Monthly rate dips on seasonal changes, but all categories

In the first full unemployment report for Wyoming since August, Fremont County showed solid gains in both total employment and work force over the year.

The new calculations reflect October's data after the September report, which would have compared September's jobs picture with August's as well that from Septem-ber 2012, was not produced due to the temporary federal government shutdown.

The state office relies on some federal funding and functions in its work.

The newest report covers Octo-ber's data, and it shows an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent for Fremont County.

12-month improvement

Like all 23 Wyoming counties, Fremont County's jobless rate went up in October as seasonal summer employment wound down. The county's September rate was an even 5 percent.

Of greater significance is the improvement compared to October a year ago, when the county's unemployment percentage stood at 5.6 percent.

The small gain is reinforced by other numbers in the new report. The county's civilian labor force edged downward from September to October, but it grew by 239 over the year. October's work force was 20,033.

More jobs

Job growth also was notable since last year. In October, Fremont County had 18,932 people at work, 256 more than October 2012. The difference between September and October this year was a decrease of 74, reflecting the seasonal downturn experienced statewide at this time of year.

The actual number of jobless people was up 105 for the month to 1,101 as many summer agriculture and construction jobs were eliminated, but there again was improvement for the year. In October 2012, the jobless count was 1,118.

Work force gains

A change in a long-standing ranking for Fremont County first noted over the summer is holding true into the fall. For years Fremont County had the sixth-largest labor force in the state, but in recent months it has grown to surpass Albany County (Laramie).

In October of 2012, Albany County had more than 1,000 more workers than Fremont County did, but by this year Fremont County has 40 more.

But in September, Fremont County's margin was nearly 400, and the lead was large enough to withstand the return of University of Wyoming students and staff to the Laramie labor pool at summer's end.

In the past year, Albany County's labor force has shrunk by about 1,000 workers.

Laramie County (Cheyenne) and Natrona County (Casper) continued to have Wyoming's biggest work forces by far. Natrona County tops 44,000, and Laramie County tops 45,000.

Niobrara County (Lusk) has the smallest labor pool at 1,384.

At 5.5 percent, Fremont County had the state's highest unemployment rate for October.

The county usually is among the highest jobless counties, which state analysts say is due largely to the high jobless rate on the Wind RIver Indian Reservation.

Teton County (Jackson) was a close second at 5.4 percent, up 2 full percentage points from September as hundreds of summer tourism jobs went away for the year.

Johnson County (Buffalo) and Lincoln County (Kemm-erer/Afton) joined Fremont and Teton counties at 5 percent or higher, both coming in at 5.0 percent.

As usual, neighboring Sublette County (Pinedale) had the lowest unemployment rate among the state's 23 counties at an even 3 percent, just ahead of Converse County (Douglas) at 3.1 percent.

Among Fremont County's other border counties, Hot Springs County (Thermopolis) came in at 4.1 percent, as did Carbon County (Rawlins).

Sweetwater County (Rock Springs) registered 3.7 unemployment.

Fremont County employment

Unemployment rate

October -- 5.5 percent

September -- 5.0 percent

October 2012 -- 5.6 percent

Labor force

October -- 20,033

September -- 20,002

October 2012 -- 19,794

Total employment

October -- 18,932

September -- 19,006

October 2012 -- 18,676

Total unemployment

October -- 1,101

September -- 996

October 2012 -- 1,118

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