Economist: Wyoming Economy Stuck In Neutral
A Senior State Economist says that while he doesn't expect many more job losses in Wyoming over the next few months, he also doesn't expect much growth.
Jim Robinson notes crude oil prices have been hovering in the low to mid $40 per barrel range for most of the last few months, while natural gas prices have usually been between $2.25 and $2.65 per mcf.
He says that while those prices tend to increase during the winter months, there doesn't seem to be much optimism right now about prices for either oil or natural gas spiking any time soon, because of an oversupply of both products on the market.
He also says oil and gas rig counts in Wyoming have shown little change since April.
Robinson says the good news for people employed in those industries is that most of the Wyoming energy industry job losses have probably already happened. But with oil and gas prices stuck in the doldrums, not many new jobs will be created either.
Robinson says year over year overall job growth in Wyoming will probably remain close to zero over at least the next couple of months or so. He also says the state economy has contracted over the last four months based on his Wyoming Business Cycle Index.
On the plus side, even though the state economy hasn't created very many new jobs, Wyoming's unemployment rate for September was only 4.0%, compared to a national jobless rate of 5.1%. Robinson says strong performances by the construction and tourism sectors have kept the overall economic news from being even worse than it has been.
But until energy prices improve, the overall economic outlook probably won't get much better.