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Wyoming Economist Doesn’t See Job Growth Or Declines Coming Up

David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

A senior Wyoming State Economist says he doesn’t think the Wyoming economy will be adding many jobs over the next few months.

But Jim Robinson doesn’t expect significant numbers of layoffs in the Cowboy State either.

The Wyoming Department of Administration and Information issued it’s “Macro Report” on the Wyoming economy on Wednesday, covering the first nine months of 2017.

Robinson says the report overall shows a boost to the state economy which now seems to be tapering off. He says the mining sector of the economy, especially oil and gas, has shown steady, if not dramatic, improvement over much of this year.

”There has been some drilling activity, and along with that some oil and gas jobs that we had lost,” Robinson says. Wyoming had 1,900 more oil and gas jobs in August of this year compared to a year earlier.

He also says the price of crude oil has slowly edged into the $50 per barrel range over the last few weeks, up from an average price of around $46 a barrel previously. He calls that a ”very, very small improvement,” but adds “it’s tracking on the right side.”

Robinson says the $50 a barrel mark is an important milestone in the sense that energy companies can begin to make money at that price, rather than operating at a loss.

He says that is true in part because companies have learned to operate more efficiently over the last few years as prices continued to lag.

But Robinson says the downside to the increased efficiency in terms of the economy is that it includes the ability to operate with fewer employees.

He says the boost from the energy industry is also showing up in state sales and use tax collections, which are up by 14.4 percent for the first three months of fiscal year 2018 compared to fiscal year 2017 (the fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30).

But on the downside, Robinson says he thinks Wyoming has already received most of the boost from the energy industry that is likely to be seen for a while.

He says that probably means that over the next few months the state economy won’t be adding many jobs, but it also won’t be losing many.

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