A family-owned daily newspaper serving Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming since 1949

County jobless rate continues to fall

Apr 13, 2012 - Staff

The newest data compiled by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service showed the unemployment rate in Fremont County at 7.4 percent for February, down from 7.9 percent in January and 8.4 percent in February 2011.

In some months, decreases in the rate can be attributed to a shrinking workforce or a discouraged job-seekers who have stopped looking for work. But that didn't appear to be the case in February, the WDE data show. Every indicator pointed to more hiring.

First, the county's civilian labor pool grew to 19,710, up 16 for the month and now rivaling its largest count ever. It's the sixth-largest work force among Wyoming's 23 counties and mirrored an uptick in workers noted in all five counties with larger labor forces.

Total employment also was up for the month and year in Fremont County. The WDE counted 18,243 people with jobs in February, 11 more than the previous month but a healthy 174 jobs than existed a year earlier.

Continuing the positive trend, total unemployment in the county was lower in February, standing at 1,467. That's 94 fewer jobless than January and an improvement of 185 from February 2011.

The WDE noted a familiar seasonal improvement in employment as winter eased. Just one of the 23 Wyoming counties didn't see a lower jobless rate. That came in Crook County, whose rate rose from 5.7 percent to 6 percent.

Fremont County's 7.4 percent rate was third highest in Wyoming, trailing Lincoln County's (Kemmerer) 8.8. percent and the 7.7 percent posted in Johnson County (Buffalo).

The lowest rate, as has been the case most of the time for several years, was in Sublette County (Pinedale) at 3.3 percent. Others with low jobless percentages were Campbell County (Gillette) at 4.5 percent and Albany County (Laramie) at 4.6 percent.

Few counties could match Fremont's 12-month improvement of a full point. Of those that did, Big Horn County (Lovell) showed the best gain dropping from 8.7 percent a year ago to 6.7 percent this year.

Fremont County also outperformed Wyoming overall. The WDE calculated the statewide jobless rate at 5.4 percent, barely changed from the 5.5 percent of the month before. A year earlier, the state's jobless rate was 6.4 percent. Statewide, 286,199 workers held jobs in February, up about 2,000 from January but nearly 6,000 from February 2011 as the state's economy continues its recovery.

Fremont County unemployment

Unemployment rate

February -- 7.4 percent

January -- 7.9 percent

February 2011 -- 8.4 percent

Labor force

February -- 19,710

January -- 19,694

February 2011 -- 19,721

Total employment

February -- 18,243

January -- 18,133

February 2011 -- 18,069

Total unemployment

February -- 1,467

January -- 1,561

February 2011 -- 1,652

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