Wyoming’s economy took a hit in the first quarter of 2015, thanks to the global drop in oil and gas prices.
That is according to a new report released by the state’s Economic Analysis Division.
But the same report notes counties that don’t rely as heavily on the energy industry remained fairly stable, seeing modest year-over-year growth for the quarter.
The report was written by the state’s principal economist, Wenlin Liu, and it focuses mainly on the changes from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015.
Liu said that while nearly every job sector in Wyoming saw year-over-year growth and state unemployment has dropped to 4 percent, mining was the one big exception.
That job sector saw a 2.4 percent drop in employment, equating to about 660 jobs.
“The simple reason was a dramatic decline in drilling rigs for oil and natural gas,” Liu said. “It’s not only oil prices, but natural gas prices too. And that’s directly affecting Wyoming’s economy.”
Only one other job sector saw year-over-year declines in employment, and that was “other services,” which cover a wide and disparate range of professions. Employment there fell 2.8 percent, shedding about 270 jobs.
In Wyoming’s case, Liu said the “other services” sector includes services that he believes are linked to the energy sector, which would help explain the decline.
“Lots of these are repair and maintenance services – auto repairs, machinery repairs,” Liu said. “And those are also related to the mineral extraction industry.”