Wyoming Unemployment Rate Up In April
Wyoming's statewide unemployment rate increased to 5.5 percent in April, up from 5.2 percent the month before.
But the rate approached 8 percent last month in some of the state's big energy producing areas, while it was as low as 3 percent in Albany County and 4 percent in Laramie County (down from 4.4 percent in March), areas of the state where the economies are less dependent on energy production.
By comparison Campbell County's jobless rate was 7.9 percent in April, up from 7.1 percent in March. Natrona County's jobless rate edged up from 7.4 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April.
State economist David Bullard says the state has lost 11,600 jobs between April of last year and April 2016, a decrease of 4 percent.
But even that figure doesn't tell the entire story of the damage caused by low energy prices, as many people formerly employed in high-paying energy sector jobs have taken lower paying jobs in tourism and other fields.
Others have left the state entirely.
Bullard says there is some hope in the fact that oil prices have been gradually rising over recent weeks, hitting $48 a barrel on Tuesday.
Another state economist, Jim Robinson, has said he thinks Wyoming's oil industry may begin to revive somewhat if oil prices top $50 a barrel and stay above that rate for an extended period.