3 Cities to Watch
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Neil Pierson is editor of Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wyoming’s unemployment rate dropped to 3. 8 percent as of this past
April, only the second month with a figure below 4 percent since February 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Total year-over-year
employment has been growing by about 1 percent in recent months as the
energy sector has rebounded — with job growth in sectors such as professional and business services, mining and logging, and manufacturing rising
year over year between 3 percent and 9 percent as of this past March.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services projects the state will add
more than 7,300 jobs from second-quarter 2017 to second-quarter 2019,
a growth rate of 2.7 percent. The state’s mining industry, which is highly
dependent on fossil-fuel extraction, bottomed out in 2016 but appears to
be rebounding. The leisure and hospitality sector, which has steadily grown
for more than a quarter century, is anticipated to grow by 4. 5 percent,
or 1,600 jobs, during the same two-year period, Workforce Services said.
Mining is a key component of the Equality State’s economy. Wyoming is
the nation’s leading producer of bentonite — a mineral used in products
like pet litter, crayons and cosmetics — and mines up to 70 percent of
the world’s known supply, the Wyoming Mining Association (WMA) said.
The Equality State also has been the top coal producer in the U.S. since
1986, WMA said, and the coal industry serves as Wyoming’s second-largest
source of state and local tax revenues, contributing more than $1 billion
annually. Coal miners earn an average salary of $82,000 a year before benefits, almost twice the statewide average across all industries, WMA said.
Trona, which is used to produce baking soda, is the state’s top export.
In 2016, Wyoming mined 17. 5 million tons of the mineral, and the trona-mining industry supported nearly 2,300 jobs statewide, according to WMA.
Sitting at an elevation of 5, 100 feet and in close proximity to numerous
hiking trails, ski resorts and fishing locales, this city of 59,000 people
in Natrona County has an average of 220 sunny days per year. Casper’s
median household income of $57,511 has grown at about twice the
rate of the national average since 2000, the Casper Area Economic
Development Alliance reports. Natrona County’s largest employers
include Wyoming Medical Center, Wyoming Machinery Co. and
WES TECH, which designs and builds truck bodies for the mining industry.
The state capital and home to about 63,000 people, the city touts a
variety of cultural and recreational attractions. F.E. Warren Air Force
Base, which employs more than 4,000 people, recently celebrated its
150th anniversary. The base houses the 90th Missile Wing and was
home to the nation’s first operational intercontinental ballistic missile
site in 1958. Other top area employers include Cheyenne Regional
Medical Center, Sierra Trading Post and the Union Pacific Railroad.
The city of 32,000 in Albany County is the state’s educational mecca
as nearly 14,000 students attend the University of Wyoming. Laramie
has a regional airport and is a two-hour drive from Denver, making
it increasingly attractive as a business community. Technology and
manufacturing jobs are on the rise in Albany County, and the state’s
first technology-zoned business park, located just a mile from the
university, is looking to accommodate more employers. The growing
local tech sector includes companies like Medicine Bow Technologies,
Bright Agrotech, UL and Handel Information Technologies.
Sources: Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, Casper Star-Tribune, Cheyenne
LEADS, City of Laramie, F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Forbes, State of Wyoming, University of
Wyoming, U. S. Census Bureau, U. S. Department of Labor, Wyoming Center for Business
and Economic Development, Wyoming Department of Administration and Information,
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Wyoming Mining Association, Wyoming
Office of Tourism, Wyoming State Historical Society.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com