November unemployment 5.2%

Teton County saw a November unemployment rate of 5.2%, the highest of any county in Wyoming, according to preliminary figures from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. In October the unemployment rate in Teton County was 2.7%, and in November 2018 it was 6.2%. “Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and increased from October to November,” the department’s press release said. “Unemployment often rises in November as colder weather brings seasonal job losses in leisure & hospitality, construction, and professional & business services.”

Caldera House a ‘standout’

Caldera House in Teton Village caught the attention of The New York Times for a story titled “5 New Standout Ski Hotels.” The article said, “Opened in Jackson Hole in the summer of 2018, Caldera House is the $100 million dream come true of the private-equity powerhouse Wesley Edens: a luxury retreat (and alpine membership club) with the rugged spirit of the American West.” A special amenity was noted: “This winter, the Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller will guide groups of five on daylong coaching and skiing adventures for $25,000, breakfast included.”

State population grows a bit

After declines three years in a row, Wyoming’s population has inched up. In July the state had 578,880 residents, which is 1,158 people, or 0.2%, more than in July 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures published by Wyoming’s Economic Analysis Division. The natural increase was 1,630 individuals — 6,601 births minus 4,971 deaths. But 470 more people moved out of Wyoming than migrated in during that one-year period, so that number is subtracted. As for the reverse of population change from negative to positive, the Economic Analysis Division attributed that to an improved Wyoming economy led by the petroleum industry.

Fertility rate drops

In 2018, Wyoming’s fertility rate was 61 births per 1,000 females age 15 to 44. That was down 4.8% from 64.1 in 2018, “one of the worst drops in the nation,” according to the state’s Economic Analysis Division, which published figures based on Wyoming Department of Health data. In 2008, there were about twice as many births as deaths in the state, for a natural population increase of nearly 4,000 individuals. Ten years later the natural increase was just below 1,500 as births declined to 6,556 and deaths rose to 5,069 in 2018. “The downturn of Wyoming’s energy dependent economy in 2015 and 2016 drove many residents out of the state, and the out-migration of this younger working population was also responsible for the fast decline of births,” Wyoming’s chief economist, Wenlin Liu, said in a press release.

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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