Wyoming Saw Highest Visitation to Yellowstone and Teton in 2nd Quarter, Economic Report Shows
On Monday, the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information released their second quarter report on the state of Wyoming's economy.
Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief Economist with Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis, said in a press release:
"As the curve of COVID cases flattened, Wyoming’s economy continued to rebound in the second quarter, but the pace was somewhat slower than the U.S. average. The slow recovery in the state's oil and gas drilling activities is still dragging the speed of Wyoming's labor market improvement. Approximately 10,700 or 4.1% less payroll jobs were recorded in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year, led by -1,300 in the mineral extraction and -1,600 in construction industries."
Liu said that there was a large increase in tourism to several parks in the state, which contributed to Teton county having the highest increase in taxable sales, up 87.2%.
"Visitation figures for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks were the highest recorded for the second quarter in history, mostly attributed to visitors' outdoor sightseeing preference and the general booming travel and tourism activities from the pent up demand."
While Teton County saw the biggest increase, Carbon County saw the biggest decrease in taxable income by 39.8%, which the report blames in part the "fading activities in wind energy construction," which may be in reference to the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, and the issues it has recently run into.
Natrona County only saw a slight increase of 1.3% in annual taxable sales.
According to the report, visitation in Yellowstone increased 138.8% compared to the previous year, and Grand Teton increased by a little over 103.3%.
The report also shows a large increase in jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry, up 34.1%, or 9,100 jobs, year over year, which is credited with the increase in the restaurant and lodging business.
While the report details the rebound in jobs across the state due to federal stimulus and vaccinations, it also cautions that the recent Delta variant of COVID-19 may negatively impact the job market, which has already seen a slower increase in employment, with 235,000 new jobs added in August compared to around a million in June and July.