Wyoming Economic Report Shows Uptick in Tax Collections
A recent state report shows some hopeful signs for Wyoming's economy.
The ''Wyoming Insight" report for August shows a 15 percent increase in state sales and use tax collections compared to the same time last year. That comes out to $7.5 million.
Senior State Economist Jim Robinson says sales and use taxes are considered one of the best measurements of how the economy is doing. Robinson says the improvement is most pronounced in Sublette, Laramie, and Sweetwater counties, but most counties across the state are seeing some improvement.
He says the other encouraging factor in the report is that the all-important mining industry, along with public administration, is showing most of the increase. The public administration sector records sales taxes paid on vehicle purchases. Wyoming's tax base is largely based on the minerals industries and those industries are responsible for a large percentage of the jobs in the Cowboy State.
Robinson says much of the improvement in the mining sector can be attributed to increased oil and natural gas exploration, with 26 rigs active in the state through the summer months. That's up from only 8 or nine rigs a few months ago.
Oil and gas industry jobs in Wyoming were up by about 1,800 in July compared to one year earlier.
But the bad news in the report is that oil and natural gas prices stayed stagnant in August. Robinson says there isn't much reason to expect those prices to improve significantly in the near future, especially since Hurricane Harvey has put a damper on the nation's refining capacity.