Wyoming’s Economy Continues to Grow
Principal economist Jim Robinson says highlights from this month’s issue include:
1, “Natural gas prices improved in November,” noted Robinson. The November price at the Opal Hub averaged $4.09 per thousand cubic feet (mcf), up from the $3.62 per mcf average in October, an increase of 13.0 percent. By comparison, the November 2013 price came in at $3.53 per mcf. West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices continued to weaken, averaging $76.68 per bbl. in November, down from the October average of $84.40 per bbl. and $17.21 per bbl. less than a year ago. The oil rig count increased to 40 for October, three better than September, while conventional gas rigs remained at 21 for the month. Applications for permit to drill for oil continued to increase in a year-to-date comparison. Applications reached 3,323 through the end of October compared to 1,746 in 2013 representing an increase of 90.3 percent. The number of oil and gas jobs fell to 17,700 in October, but 300 more than a year ago.
2. Overall, Wyoming added 6,200 payroll jobs in October compared to a year ago, increasing at a rate of 2.1 percent. This was the highest year-over-year growth rate for the state since April of 2012 when the growth rate was 2.5 percent. The goods-producing industries in the state had a gain of 1,200 jobs while service-providing jobs increased by 5,000. Both are year-over-year comparisons. Private sector growth showed a gain of 5,200 jobs or 2.4 percent while government jobs increased by 1,000 or 1.4 percent.
3. After four months of fiscal 2015, sales and use tax collections saw growth of $31.5 million (11.6 percent in a year-to-date comparison to 2014. “Campbell (+$10.1 million), Natrona (+$6.3 million), and Converse (+$4.5 million) counties have accounted for almost 70.0 percent of the gains in collections so far this year. Platte and Crook counties grew the fastest at 49.8 and 33.4 percent, respectively. From an industry perspective, the mining and construction sectors have captured most of the collection gains to date,” Robinson commented.