Wyoming Economist Calls Report ‘Fairly Good News’
Senior Wyoming Economist Jim Robinson says a recent report on the state economy is pretty good news overall.
The "Wyoming Insight" report issued last week shows oil prices continuing to rise, averaging $57.36 per barrel in December, up $5.35 per barrel compared to December 2016. Permits to drill for oil were also up, with a count of 8,996 through the end of November compared to 6,489 at the same time in 2016.
Robinson says another positive sign is the fact that state sales and use tax collections are up by 16.6 percent, or $43.5 million, for the first five months of Fiscal Year 2018 compared to FY 2017 (the fiscal year begins on July 1). The fact that three energy producing counties--Sublette, Sweetwater and Campbell counties-- are leading the way bodes well for a state where the energy industry is a critical sector of the economy, according to Robinson.
Natrona County, another major energy-producing county, is running 11.6 percent ahead of FY 2017.
Sales tax collections tax collections are considered one of the best gauges of economic health since they are collected on business transactions.
Not all of the news was good though. Natural gas prices fell from $2.71 per million British Thermal Units in November to $2.61 last month.
Robinson says the report overall shows more slow but steady improvement in the Wyoming economy, adding he expects the same trend to continue over the next few months.