I am writing to challenge the CST and your readers to recognize several problems in a new report coming out of the Governor’s Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming (ENDOW). The Legislature’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee received an initial ENDOW report in Casper on Sept. 1.
Unfortunately, the ENDOW report does not meet common basic standards for research and analysis. Senate Enrolled Act No. 64, establishing the ENDOW project, requires not just a description of the labor market and a presentation of opinion, but a purposive and comprehensive analysis of relationships between employer demand and the demographics of labor supply. The statute requires a “comprehensive” report that would include an understanding of the role of education, community, transportation and Wyoming’s trade relationship to external markets. The ENDOW report presents some of these elements in undocumented form and in isolation from one another. The report lacks a clear statement of methodology and contains none of the standards required to ensure informed policy making.
The ENDOW report’s lack of rigor draws conclusions simply because a report was required. It is not clear how the authors arrived at the conclusion that the “workforce is the single greatest inhibitor … for growth.” Wyoming exports thousands of both post-secondary and high school graduates to states throughout the country where they are put to work. The report does not address the problem that Wyoming has been losing jobs for at least two years in one of its multiple bust cycles. The decline in demand for workers, not the sufficiency of labor supply, is the real issue.
If public policymakers are basing decisions on analyses that do not meet common minimum research standards, then the ENDOW project is most appropriately thought of as the END-Of-Wyoming.