The August 2014 issue of the Wyoming Insight is now available and it is showing that the economy is growing but slowly. 

Jim Robinson, principal economist for the state's Economic Analysis Division says fiscal year 2015 commenced on July 1, 2014 and the first month’s sales and use tax collections continued the growth trend witnessed in fiscal 2014. Robinson said “It’s only the first month but collections were $6.1 million (9.1 percent) ahead in July compared to last year. Campbell and Natrona counties accounted for most of the gains as did the mining and public administration from an industry context.

Robinson said natural gas prices declined modestly in August but prices were still above prices seen in August of 2013. Robinson said the August price at the Opal Hub averaged $3.80 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) after averaging $3.97 per mcf in July. By comparison, the August 2013 price came in at $3.31 per mcf.

Robinson said the oil rig count increased to 33 for July, an increase of 2 over June numbers, while conventional gas rigs remained at 19 for the month. Applications for permit to drill for oil continued to increase in a year-to-date comparison. Applications reached 1,800 through the end of July compared to 1,087 in 2013. The number of oil and gas jobs improved by 300 in July compared to June, reaching 18,000.

Robinson said Wyoming added 2,400 jobs in July compared to a year ago, increasing at a rate of 0.8 percent. Private sector growth showed a gain of 3,500 jobs or 1.6 percent. The goods-producing industries in the state had a gain of 1,600 jobs while service-providing jobs increased by 800. Both are year-over-year comparisons.

Robinson said total housing units permitted through the end of July were lagging the pace set in 2013 in a year-ago comparison by 14.8 percent.