Wyoming Economist Calls Report ‘Pretty Good News’
Wyoming Senior State Economist Jim Robinson says a new report on personal income growth in the first quarter of 2017 is the latest sign that the slumping state economy might be picking up.
The report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis [BEA] shows personal income in the Cowboy State grew by 1.1 percent over the period of January-March of 2017. That matched the personal income growth for the Rocky Mountain, which includes Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Idaho as well as Wyoming.
By comparison, overall income across the United States grew by just slightly less over that period, at 1.0 percent. Breaking down the Wyoming numbers, the state saw income growth in 19 of the 24 BEA-defined industries over the first quarter. The mining sector, which includes oil and gas activity, grew by $71 million, or about 2.9 percent.
That was followed by construction, which grew by $46 million, or 2.8 percent.
The largest decrease was in the farm sector, where earnings fell by $29 million, or a decline of 96.8 percent. Robinson says that while that number may seem high, it is explained by two factors. The first is that fact that farm income across the country took a major hit over that period. But he says the other factor is that the farming sector of the economy in Wyoming is not very large to begin with, so a relatively small fluctuation in the raw numbers has a big impact. in the percentages.
Robinson says the income report overall confirms trends that are being seen in other areas, including a gradual increase in the number of jobs in the critical mining sector.
He says the overall picture is that "things are slowly improving in the state" as far as the economy is concerned.