CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — There are signs of improvement in Wyoming's energy industry after a recent downturn.

Wyoming state economist Jim Robinson says companies are spending more and adding jobs after a two-year downturn in coal, oil and natural gas extraction.

Sales and use tax collections have grown by nearly 19 percent over the past nine months. The number of rigs drilling for oil has hit a three-year high and that activity is pulling in new employees.

Wyoming's overall labor force continues to shrink, however, and U.S. Census data show Wyoming losing population over the past couple years.

Robinson calls it a "measured recovery."

More From Laramie Live