The latest edition of the Wyoming Insight is now available. The numbers show that through February, Fiscal year 2012 sales and use tax collections were $53.4 million (+11.7%) better than the same period year. Jim Robinson, senior economist with the State's Economic Analysis Division says Natrona led all counties with $11.6 million more than a year ago while Sweetwater and Campbell followed close behind with $8.9 and $8.5 million more than last year, respectively.  Mining was the top performing industry collecting an additional $13.4 million.  The wholesale trade and retail trade sectors were next in line with $10.5 and $9.5 million better than last year, respectively.

Robinson says Natural gas prices continued to weaken in March where the Opal Hub price was averaging $2.10 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) for the month through the 22nd.  The February 2012 average price was $2.52 per mcf while the March 2011 price came in at $3.79 per mcf.  The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of crude oil broke through the century mark in March.  After reaching $98.95 per bbl. in February, the March average price of WTI leaped by almost $5.00 to $103.28 per bbl.

Robinson says Oil and gas jobs did not change in February, matching January’s number of 17,700.  By comparison, a year ago, this sub-sector of the mining industry was averaging 16,500 jobs.