Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wyoming posts nation's lowest unemployment rate!

The AP just released this story about Wyoming and our unemployment rate by By MATT JOYCE. Having lived here, in Wyoming that is, not in this blog in cyberspace, for most of the past 17 years (Except for about 11 months in 2002-03 when I lived in Florida.) I have found Wyoming a great place to live, and raise a family. We lack the congestion of big cities and big states. Our pay scale may not be as high as other parts of the country, but our cost of living is also lower. We have a very business friendly state government. And the beauty of the state is incredible. We have The United States of America's First National Park- Yellowstone, and the first National Monument- Devil's Tower, and an assortment of National Forests, and Wilderness Areas.

Granted, we are also the least populated state. From where I live in Sheridan, in north-central Wyoming, going to the mall is an all day trip, whether it is to the East Ridge Mall in Casper (144 miles) or the mall in Billings (125 miles) or in Rapid City (200+ miles). Although you can find just about everything you need in town. And Sheridan, WY has been voted the Best Western City in the U.S. Hey, what more can you ask for.

Well, here is what AP said today:

Wyoming posted the country's lowest unemployment rate in December 2008 at 3.4 percent - less than half the nationwide average of 7.2 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Tuesday.

Wyoming was followed closely by North Dakota at 3.5 percent and South Dakota at 3.9 percent. December jobless rates were highest in Michigan at 10.6 percent and Rhode Island at 10 percent.

Wyoming's December unemployment rate was up slightly from 3.2 percent in November and from 3.1 percent in December 2007.

Senior economist Wenlin Liu of the state Economic Analysis Division said Wyoming had job growth of 2.2 percent from December 2007 to December 2008. That was driven by job growth of 7 percent in the mining sector and 3 percent in the government sector.

The state's budget surplus of recent years helped create more jobs at government institutions such as public schools and the University of Wyoming, Liu said.

But Liu pointed out that falling oil and natural gas prices could eventually affect employment numbers in the mining sector. Whereas coal producers are working on long-term contracts, oil and gas producers could feel the pinch of weakening prices.

"Normally in the winter time, gas prices are relatively higher, but now it keeps dropping because of weak demand," he said. "Probably many of these coal-bed methane producers will have to reduce their activities if the price of natural gas continues to drop."

Granted, we are not perfect, but this is a beautiful place to live. I could have left out the bad parts of the above story, but unlike those who like to cherry pick stories to suit their agenda (Politicians) I thought it best to share the entire piece, the good, the bad, and the really ugly! This is my contribution for the day! So far?


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