Unemployment rate down in Big Horn County

Erin Mullins

Big Horn County’s unemployment rate fell by more than a full percentage point in the past year, according to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

In October 2022, the unemployment rate was 3.7% in Big Horn County, whereas in October 2023 the unemployment rate sat at 2.6%. Overall, there is a 2.9% unemployment rate in Wyoming and a 3.9% unemployment rate nationally. 

David Bullard, senior economist for Wyoming Department of Workplace Services, said that there are multiple reasons for the drop in the unemployment rate. 

“We continue to see recovery from COVID-19, especially in the leisure and hospitality sector. But there’s other things going on, too,” Bullard said. “We’re seeing growth in construction, in healthcare, in transportation and warehousing, so, in a lot of different areas.”

While economic growth is starting to slow down, the trend still seems to be heading upwards, so the unemployment rate should continue to go down, he said. Compared to a year ago, there is a tighter labor market and workers have more power. Long term, he expects the economy to continue to grow. 

Three industries in Wyoming saw the most growth, Bullard said. Construction, education and health services and leisure and hospitality all added 1,800 jobs. The biggest industry for employment in Big Horn County is local government, which includes jobs at public schools, local and county government, etc. 

Local government employs 1,185 people in Big Horn County, he said. The smallest sector of employment in Big Horn County is real estate and leasing with 22 jobs. The smallest sector of employment in Wyoming is management of companies and enterprises with fewer than 1,000 jobs. 

A potential challenge for Wyoming’s future economy is the shift away from fossil fuels, Bullard said. Coal, oil and gas are industries which are “very important” to the state.