Sales in Wyoming Slow to Recover from Pandemic
Based on data from the Wyoming department of administration and information, the state's economy continues to struggle to recover, as taxable sales are still negative, while some counties see greater gains.
Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief Economist with the state of Wyoming, Economic Analysis Division, said:
"As the resurgence of the virus diminished, Wyoming’s economy continued to rebound in the first quarter, similar to the U.S. average. However, the slow recovery in the state's oil & gas drilling activities is still dragging the pace of Wyoming's overall economic improvement. Approximately 15,730 or 5.6% less payroll jobs were recorded in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year, led by -5,070, or -25.7%, in the mineral extraction industry."
Across the state, there is an average 4.9% decrease in taxable sales from the first quarter of 2020 to the same time period in 2021.
However some areas have seen greater gains over losses, like Washakie county, which had the biggest increase in taxable sales at 36.8%, or Teton county in second at 32.2%.
Other areas saw greater losses than the average, with Niobrara county being the worst with a 51.5% decrease in taxable sales, or Converse county at a 42% decrease.
Natrona county had the least amount of change compared to last year, with the county seeing only a .6% increase in taxable sales.
Liu said the stimulus checks given out by the federal government from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) were the main reason taxable sales didn't go lower than a few percent.
"The federal government checks to individuals and also federal government payments to business, that really help, not only Wyoming, it's the same throughout the country. That's why for taxable sales, we just see the year over year decline just a few percent. Without government assistance, the decline could be about 20%, so it's a lot better than we forecasted. The main reason is again government stimulus checks to individuals and government help to businesses."
In terms of unemployment, Wyoming did a lot better compared to the national average, with the state reaching a peak of around 7% in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the national average of a little over 13% around the same time period.
In the same vein, the only industries that have seen an increase over the past year have been retail trade and professional and business services, which saw an increase of 1.8%, or 500 jobs, and .4%, or 70 jobs, respectively.