Unemployment rose in November

Teton County’s unemployment rate rose in November, going from 4.4% in October to 5.8% a month later.

That 1.4-percentage-point increase was the largest seen by any Wyoming county, according to the state Department of Workforce Services’ Research and Planning Section.

However, November’s jobless rate in Teton County was not that much higher than November 2019’s 5.4%.

“Unemployment often increases in Teton County in November as the summer tourist season has ended and the ski season has not begun,” the Research and Planning Section said.

Albany County reported the lowest November unemployment rate at 3%. The highest rate was 7% in Natrona County.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.5% in October to 5.1% in November.

“Wyoming’s unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing since its peak of 9.6% in April and is currently much lower than the U.S. rate of 6.7%,” the Research and Planning Section said.

But it noted that Wyoming’s jobless rate is “considerably higher” than November 2019’s level of 3.7%.

Relief funds are paid out

The Wyoming Business Council announced that it had closed one of its relief grant programs, the Endurance Fund, after paying out $82.8 million.

The 981 recipients were Wyoming businesses and nonprofits that had not already received COVID-19 Business Relief Program awards.

“Remaining applications in the queue are not able to be funded, and applicants have been notified via email,” the council said.

The Business Relief Program, created by the state Legislature, uses money from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act approved last spring by Congress.

The Endurance Fund opened on Nov. 2 with $24 million allocated in unspent dollars from previous funds administered by the Business Council.

Nearly 2,200 eligible businesses and nonprofits submitted applications for $215.7 million in requests, the council said in a press release.

“Due to high demand, additional leftover CARES Act funding was shifted into the Endurance Fund and the Business Council prioritized applicants who had not received previous BRP funding to ensure financial help reached entities with the fewest resources and the greatest need.”

Touting the success of the Business Relief Program, the press release said that of the $1.25 billion allocated to Wyoming through the CARES Act almost $420 million was granted to 8,578 applicants with a total of 39,150 full-time employees.

“More than 7,000 unique Wyoming businesses (6,665) and nonprofits (396) benefited from the COVID-19 Business Relief Program.”

— Staff report

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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