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Jobless rates remain steady

SHERIDAN — Wyoming’s March unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent for the fourth month in a row, according to figures released this week by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

The seasonally adjusted figure is significantly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

Senior economist David Bullard said the stagnation at just under 5 percent comes as no surprise to most industry insiders, since Wyoming’s jobless rate had been steadily declining for more than two years prior to the plateau.

“It can’t go down forever,” he said. “It’s got to level off at some point.”

From February to March, most county jobless rates followed their normal seasonal patterns and fell slightly. Johnson County, Hot Springs County and Fremont County saw the biggest dips with unemployment rate drops of .4 percent each.

Conversely, unemployment increased modestly in Niobrara, Big Horn, Teton and Goshen counties.

Meanwhile, Sheridan County saw a decrease from 7 percent to 6.8 percent between the two months.

Despite the normal increase in the real number of jobs that usually accompanies the start of tourism season, Bullard said he doesn’t foresee any factors significantly changing the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the months to come.

And while federal cuts related to the recent sequester have caused some agencies to cut back on labor expenses, Bullard said he doesn’t believe the changes will have a large effect on total unemployment in Wyoming.

“I don’t expect to see anything noticeable at the statewide level,” he said.

April unemployment figures will be released toward the end of May.

About

Paolo Cisneros

Paolo Cisneros joined The Sheridan Press staff in August 2012. He covers business, energy and public safety. A Chicago native, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011.

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