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Wyoming Economist: No Way To Know When Things Will Improve

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A Senior State Economist says there is no way to know when Wyoming’s economy might start to seriously improve.

Jim Robinson of the state Economic Analysis Division says all of the available information seems to show that things at least are not getting much worse at this point. He says the positive signs include a whopping 76 percent decline in jobless claims in the critical mining sector of the state economy over the first two months of this year compared to last year.

Crude oil prices seem to have more or less stabilized in the low-to-mid $50 a barrel mark, as opposed to the $40 a barrel range or lower.

While Robinson did not mention coal prices, President Trump’s recent announcement that he was lifting a moratorium on coal leases on federal lands has also sparked some optimism among Wyoming residents that the state coal industry may show some signs of life was well.

But Robinson says the bottom line at this point is that it is likely that the state has mostly stopped bleeding. And while Wyoming probably won’t lose 11,500 jobs this year as it did in 2016, real improvement in the state economy may not be looming in the near future.

He says that is because Wyoming’s economy to this point is still mostly tied to the energy and minerals industries, and there is little the state can do to impact those prices.

But he also says the fact the state economy has at least stabilized could also provide a ‘platform” for ”that next step for our economy, whatever that is that we are moving towards.”

Robinson says that could mean more mining in the state, but adds sectors like manufacturing and technology also could be important contributors to Wyoming’s economy in the future.

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