If it feels like there are fewer people spending money in Cheyenne, it’s because there is. A Cheyenne-based economic data firm reports the economy in Laramie County is getting worse. The total number of jobs in Laramie County dropped by 2.1 percent (or 1,004 jobs) in the first three months of the year, according to a report from by the Wyoming Center for Business and Economic Analysis released this morning.
The report went on to say the number of unemployed workers in Laramie County rose from 1,856 in the last three months of 2015 to 1,149 in the first three months of 2016. That is a rise of 21 percent. The report says 30 percent of the jobs were in the retail sector while another 30 percent were in the mining sector.
Retail spending, or shopping, in Laramie County was also down 9.4 percent for the first three months of the year versus the last three months of last year. The report also shows fewer people are staying in Cheyenne as lodging tax receipts fell by 45 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016. The authors of the report surmised it was due to the decline in oil and gas activities in Laramie County.
Traditionally, Cheyenne is somewhat insulated from the booms and busts of the state’s oil/coal/and natural gas-based economy thanks to stable employers such as the State and FE Warren Air Force Base. However, the report suggests the area is feeling the pinch in mineral industry as well with declined oil production of 15 percent from the end of last year to the start of this year.