A senior Wyoming State Economist says the latest numbers on the state economy show things are gradually headed in the right direction.

Jim Robinson measures the overall health of the economy using the Wyoming Business-Cycle Index (WBCI).

That index is made up of four components. They include unemployment, private sector weekly wages, mining taxes and national park visits. Robinson says the overall WBCI index score for March was 95.59, up from February's score of 94.94 and a December 2016 rating of 93.91.

But the March 2017 score was down from a WBCI index one year earlier of 96.18. Robinson says the state lost about 6,100 jobs during the period between March of 2016 and March 2017.

But private sector jobs in the state increased by 500 between February and March of this year. Robinson also notes the state unemployment rate has been gradually improving through the first few months of 2017. Robinson also points to a slight increase in sales and use taxes collected on the mining industry year over year between March 2016 and March 2017 as a sign of progress.

Robinson says that while park visits are down for the first three months of this year, that tends to be a low visitation time anyway. He says the wet weather most of the state has experienced over the last few weeks should delay the start to the fire season, which should help tourism.

Robinson also says some parts of the state can probably expect a big boost in August from people visiting the state to view the solar eclipse.

The economist compares the likely impact of the eclipse on the economy to having ''Frontier Days located someplace other than Cheyenne. That's going to be the impact, I think, for certain parts of Wyoming."

Cheyenne Frontier Days is often compared to a second Christmas shopping season in terms of it's benefit to Laramie County businesses.

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