Wenlin Liu, the Chief Economist for the state of Wyoming, has published his Economic Summary for the first quarter of the year.

And it makes for frankly depressing reading. Here are a few highlights, or lowlights.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Wyoming experienced a decline of 3.0 percent (or 8,680 jobs) in  total  employment  in  the  first  quarter  of  2016  compared  to one  year  earlier,  the  worst  performance  since  the  first  quarter of 2009.  Wyoming’s unemployment rate climbed  to  5.0 percent  in  the  quarter,  while in the U.S., it fell slightly  to  4.9 percent.  Most industrial sectors in the state experienced  job decreases during the period. 

PERSONAL INCOME

Wyoming’s total personal income declined 1.2  percent  in  the first quarter of  2016  from  the  previous  year. U.S. personal income increased   4.4   percent   during   the   same   period.

HOME PRICES

The statewide home price continued to grow moderately in the first  quarter  of  2016,  but  at  a  slower  speed.    The year-over-year appreciation rate of 1.7 percent was less than one-third of the  national  average  pace  of  5.7  percent  during  the  same period. In Wyoming, single  family  building  permits  for  new privately-owned residential construction in the first quarter of 2016  were  17.0  percent  lower  than  previous  year  level,  while  multi-family permits were twice as much as last year.

TAXES AND REVENUE

Based  on  sales  and  use  tax  collections,  total  taxable  sales  in the state amounted to $3.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, a decrease  of  24.5  percent  from  the  first  quarter  of  2015.    The scale  of  the  contraction  was  close  to  the  level  experienced during the Great Recession.  Declines occurred in nearly every economic   industry,   with   the   largest   drop   in   the   mining  (including   oil   and   gas   extraction)   sector,   which   alone contributed  nearly  half  of  the  total  decrease.

TOURISM
The number of recreational visitations to Yellowstone
National Park reached 89,872 in the first quarter of 2016, up  5.2 percent from the previous year, but 155,934 visits in Grand Teton National Park barely changed during the same period.  Reduced gasoline prices and the strong nationwide labor
market drew more people to the Parks.

AGRICULTURE
The index of prices received bY farmers for all U.S. livestock
and products rose slightly in the first quarter of 2016, but still
substantially lower than a year ago level. Reduced cattle
inventory from the multiyear drought, strong beef exports, and
recovery in domestic demand pushed livestock prices to an all-
time high in the fourth quarter of 2014. Consequently, farm
earnings in the state also reached a record of $391 million in
that quarter, but decreased significantly in 2015 and the
downward trend continued in early 2016.