Unemployment claims fall in county in 2012
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: January 28, 2013
The number of Teton County residents receiving unemployment benefits fell last year to its lowest level since 2008.
During 2012, 2,098 county residents spent some time on the state rolls for unemployment insurance. The number of people who maxed out their benefits was also significantly down.
The statistics, released earlier this month by the state Department of Workforce Services, show the first decrease in the number of Teton County residents receiving assistance in several years. The last time the number of people on unemployment decreased was in 2007. At that time there were 898 residents receiving unemployment insurance. In 2006, the number stood at 991.
After the economy crashed in 2008, the number of jobless people who turned to the state for help increased dramatically. Between 2008 and 2009 the number more than doubled, jumping to 2,677 in 2009. In 2008 there were 1,228 Teton County residents receiving unemployment benefits from the state.
The number peaked in 2010 at 3,006. In 2011 it leveled off, hovering at 2,686 residents.
However, as the number grew, the county’s labor force shrank. In December 2008, 14,305 residents held jobs. In November 2012, the latest statistics available from the state, the workforce numbered 10,650.
In December 2008 the county’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. Last November the rate stood at 9.6 percent, the highest in the state.
Coupled with the drop in people seeking unemployment insurance from the state, there was a decrease in the number of residents who had received all the benefits for which they were eligible. Last year there were 455 people who reached the end of benefits. In 2011 that number was 654. It peaked in 2010, when 826 residents maxed out the state benefit.
Overall, Teton County had the second highest number of people receiving unemployment insurance. It tied with Natrona County. Laramie County ranked first, with 2,242 unemployment benefit recipients.