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Wyoming unemployment rate more than doubles to 9.2 percent

Wyoming unemployment rate more than doubles to 9.2 percent

  • Updated

The marquee on the Fox II Savers theater in downtown Casper reads "We are closed to keep you safe" in March. Numerous local business had to shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wyoming’s unemployment rate more than doubled to 9.2 percent in April, as an energy downturn and measures put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus led to major job losses.

Still, Wyoming fared better than most states, at least when comparing unemployment rates. Wyoming had the fifth-lowest rate in the nation, according to new numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nevada had the highest unemployment rate in April, at 28.2 percent. Connecticut had the lowest, at 7.9 percent.

While Wyoming’s job losses may not have been as steep as elsewhere, they were still dramatic. The Equality State’s nonfarm payroll employment in April fell by 26,000 to 263,000, the new figures show.

In March, before the pandemic took full effect here, Wyoming’s unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent.

To limit the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist ordered in March the closure of schools, restaurants, bars and personal care businesses. Those orders have since expired but with conditions, such as guidelines on social distancing and wearing face masks.

The economic slowdown triggered a plunge in oil prices and decline in demand for coal. That has resulted in more layoffs in the energy sector.

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