Despite concern about the Wyoming economy, a new report from the state economic analysis division actually shows that things have greatly improved in the last year. Jim Robinson, a Senior Economist with the division, notes that sales tax numbers are up about 12 percent from a year ago; oil and gas jobs have increased and despite lower than expected gas prices, rig counts are virtually the same as 2011.
“Yeah, the sales and use tax numbers have been strong all year and a lot of that has to do with the energy sector and that sort of spills into other sectors as well, especially retail trade. ”
Robinson says the fact that employment increased by about 800 from a year ago was a surprise.
“You know with the energy prices, especially with natural gas being lower than expected, one thought would be that maybe we would see some layoffs in that sector, but that hasn’t happened yet. But those numbers remain fairly strong compared to where they were last year. ”
Robinson said despite the good news the state is still struggling with lower natural gas prices. But he believes those prices could improve slightly by December.