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County's jobless rate nudged lower; still well ahead of '12 performance

Sep 9, 2013 - From staff reports

Unemployment in Fremont County ticked slightly higher in July, although the local jobs market continues to outperform conditions of a year ago.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported a civilian unemployment rate for Fremont County of 5.9 percent in July, up from 5.8 percent a month earlier but a full point better than the 6.9 percent calculated in July 2012.

July is the newest report available from the state.

The tiny increase in the jobless rate comes despite a slightly lower number of jobless workers locally, and the county's labor force remains near its all-time high.

Work force

The labor force -- meaning all adults either working or unemployed -- cracked the 20,000 mark in June, which is believed to be a first.

It slid backward in July to 19,898 in August but now ranks fifth among the state's 23 counties after standing sixth for many years.

Fremont County overtook Al-bany County (Laramie) in the work force standings, although that could change again now that the full University of Wyoming student body has returned to Laramie.

For July, Fremont County's work force outnumbered Albany County's by 660.

Even with the shrinkage in the local labor pool for July, it still exceeds last July's figure by 51 workers.

Laramie County (Cheyenne) and Natrona County (Casper) continue to have the two largest civilian work forces by far at 47,609 and 44,702, respectively.

Employment

Total employment in Fremont County for the month was 18,732, nearly 250 more than the 18,485 counted a year earlier but down 103 from June.

There were 1,166 unemployed in Fremont County for July, two fewer than a month before and substantially fewer than July 2012's figure for 1,362. That's a 12-month decrease in joblessness of 196.

The state defines "unemployed" as "all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the four-week period ending with the reference week."

Fremont County's 5.9 percent unemployment rate was the highest in Wyoming. Campbell County (Gillette) was next at 5 percent, but that was down from 5.4 percent a month earlier.

Every county in Wyoming saw improvement over the year, and Fremont County was the only county in Wyoming that saw its unemployment rate rise for the month, although the state in the past has called changes of 0.1 percent "statistically insignificant." The jobless rate in Platte County (Wheatland) was unchanged for the month at 4.9 percent.

The remaining 21 counties all saw lower percentages. Lowest in Wyoming was Teton County (Jackson) at 3.1 percent as the tourism-based economy there kicked into high gear for the summer. Sublette County (Pinedale) was next best at 3.2 percent. Teton County also showed the biggest one-month improvement, dropping from 3.8 percent in June to 3.1 percent in July.

Statewide, Wyoming's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent for the month and was nearly a full point improved from 12 months earlier, when the jobless rate was 5.5 percent.

The state's jobs picture remained better significantly than the nationwide jobless rate of 7.7 percent for July.

The national rate for August was announced Friday and has dipped to 7.3 percent.

Fremont County employment

Unemployment rate

July -- 5.9 percent

June -- 5.8 percent

July 2012 -- 6.9 percent

Labor force

July -- 19,898

June -- 20,003

July 2012 -- 19,847

Total employment

July -- 18,732

June -- 18,835

July 2012 -- 18,485

Total unemployment

July -- 1,166

June -- 1,168

July 2012 -- 1,362
 

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