Editor:

When we look at our numbers for economic growth, they’re pretty depressing. Last June, Wallet Hub published an article about state economies, and Wyoming was at the bottom of the list. Wyoming ranked 49th in GDP growth and 51st (50 states plus the District of Columbia) in the percentage of jobs in the high-tech industry. Plus we ranked 50th in change in nonfarm payoffs. In other words, we’re not making much money. One area where we could definitely use some improvement is high-tech jobs. In 2015, 46 states had overall increases in the number of high-tech jobs, but Wyoming wasn’t one of them. Attracting technology-based firms to the state would create new jobs, especially for young people who would otherwise leave the state. These firms and jobs exist in other places; this doesn’t require any big, grandiose schemes, just marketing our state and communities better to firms who might benefit from relocating here. There’s nowhere to go but up, right? Now is the time.Not only is this a growth area as many industries become more dependent on technology, but these jobs also pay well. Currently only 5,211 Wyomingites work in tech, but these jobs pay an average of $66,855 as compared to the average $45,500 of other non-tech private sector wages. What community couldn’t use a few of these jobs? But we have a few areas to work on before we see an increase. We need to expand our workforce so that we have more qualified workers; that should be our number one priority. The next step is trickier because it will take a concerted effort among many of our communities to take a hard look at what they offer residents. What will make our communities more attractive to these younger, tech-savvy workers? I don’t have the answers to that, but it’s time that all of us started asking the questions and working together to find out. The future of this wonderful state depends on it.

WAYNE LAX, Cheyenne

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