The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported today that total unemployment insurance (UI) covered payroll increased by $97.3 million (3.2%) in first quarter 2014.

Senior Economist David Bullard said employment rose by 3,062 jobs (1.1%) and average weekly wage increased by $18 (2.1%). In first quarter, employment grew faster than its five-year average (1.1% compared to 0.1%), total wages grew faster than their five-year average (3.2% compared to 2.6%), but average weekly wage grew just slower than its five-year average (2.1% compared to 2.4%).

Bullard said after losing jobs for six consecutive quarters, the mining sector (including oil & gas) gained 366 jobs (1.4%) in first quarter. In terms of dollars, UI covered payroll represents approximately 91.5% of all wage and salary disbursements and 43.8% of personal income in the state (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2014).

Despite the recent growth, overall employment remained approximately 2,250 jobs (0.1%) below its first quarter 2008 level. In short, the state has yet to make up all the job losses of 2009 and 2010.

Bullard said employment rose in 14 counties and fell in 9 counties. Total payroll increased in 21 counties and decreased in two counties.

Laramie County added 1,220 jobs (2.8%) and its total payroll increased by $13.6 million (2.9%). Job growth was greatest in transportation & warehousing, construction, accommodation & food services, and mining (including oil & gas). Employment fell in state government, federal government, and other services.

According to preliminary data, job growth continued to accelerate in second quarter. Total payroll rose by $148.5 million (4.6%) and employment increased by approximately 4,560 jobs (1.6%).