Teton County jobless rate is 2nd lowest in state
By Richard Anderson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 2, 2012
Teton County had the second-lowest unemployment rate in Wyoming in August, but the rate is on the rise for the state as a whole.
Unemployment in Jackson Hole dropped from 4.2 percent in July to 4.1 percent in August, according to statistics released last week by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. The jobless rate in August 2011 was 4.5 percent.
Statewide, however, unemployment edged up from 5.6 percent in July to 5.7 in August, a difference of about 720 people. While Workforce Services does not consider that statistically significant, August was the third consecutive month that Wyoming unemployment increased.
David Bullard, senior economist at Workforce Services, said the change suggests a slight weakening of the economy over the summer, in particular, a slowdown in drilling and mining.
“Natural gas prices remain low,” he said, “and we’ve been receiving media reports that coal mines have been cutting production and laying people off.”
August’s unemployment rate was still lower than the 6 percent rate of August 2011. It is also significantly lower than the seasonally adjusted U.S. rate of 8.1 percent.
In Teton County, 638 members of the 15,491-person workforce were unemployed in August, slightly fewer than the 654 people of July’s workforce of 15,742. In August 2011, 710 members of the 15,605-person workforce had no jobs.
Bullard said Teton County has low unemployment because the tourism economy remains strong. He anticipates the rate to begin to climb dramatically in October and especially November as the summer tourism season winds down.
Only Sublette County’s unemployment rate of 3.5 percent was lower than Teton County’s. Fremont County has the highest rate at 6.6 percent.