Economy

GOVERNOR.GOV.WYO

The Wyoming House voted for a final time to establish the ENDOW initiative, or the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming. The initiative was introduced by Governor Matt Mead last November to diversify the state’s economy and now his office is seeking public input. 

State of Wyoming Legislature

On Thursday, the Wyoming House of Representatives Committee passed the first reading of a bill that would establish a council charged with studying and implementing a plan to diversify Wyoming’s economy. The bill would create the ENDOW Council (or Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming Council).

Lander Representative Jim Allen proposed an amendment adding a tribal member to the council, which he said fits with the stated mission of the council.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming Senate discussed over 25 different amendments to their budget bill and adopted 12 of them on Wednesday. One amendment that was approved reduces salaries of most state employees by two percent. The bill would exclude employees of the University of Wyoming, the state’s community colleges, school districts, and the judicial branch.

Senate President Eli Bebout sponsored the bill. He said the state should consider how the private sector addresses financial trouble.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Senate is debating a bill that could lead to a long awaited 20 year plan to diversify Wyoming’s economy. The bill sets up the Economically Needed Diversity Options For Wyoming Council, or ENDOW Council.

Senate President Eli Bebout said it’s difficult to get legislators to think long term, but he thinks the current economic climate will help.

Wyoming Legislature

A Wyoming Senate Committee moved a bill forward to support Governor Matt Mead’s efforts to diversify the state’s economy. The Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee passed the bill to form the ENDOW Executive Council, or the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming Council.

Bob Beck

  

After a historic downturn in revenue, the Wyoming legislature has started this year’s session with a number of concerns. They still have a $150 million shortfall in revenue to fund their current budget and K-12 education funding has a $400 million deficit and they have no money for school construction. While legislative committees have been focused on other issues, there will soon come a point where lawmakers need to figure out how to move forward. 

Wyoming has seen a higher rig count and more coal production in the last few months, but that doesn’t change much for its financial picture, according to the latest Consensus Revenue Estimating Group or CREG report. It shows that the general fund was up by $900,000 but that isn’t nearly enough to fill the gaping $156 million hole in the two year $3 billion budget.

CREG Co-Chairman Don Richards said while there are signs of a rebounding economy, the numbers still aren’t great.

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Wyoming’s economy is the most sluggish in the nation, according to a report released by Bloomberg in December. That ranking came from analysis of employment, income, stock and home prices, as well as late mortgage payments around the nation. Bloomberg analysts attributed the state’s poor score to the recent energy downturn, as well as the fact that Wyoming has no urban center, where job growth tends to accelerate.

Jennie Hutchinson

There's big bucks to be made on Wyoming's big bucks, according to a new report by the University of Wyoming that evaluated the amount of money generated from hunting and fishing.

So far, the report has studied four counties: Park, Sweetwater, Albany and Fremont. All saw more than $20 million in revenue generated by hunters and anglers, and Albany County had the highest revenues with $25 million.

Wyoming's largest economic sector has taken a nosedive in recent years with the crash in oil, coal, and natural gas prices, but the August Wyoming Insight report from the Economic Analysis division shows things may be starting to stabilize. 

According to the report, the unemployment rate has stayed at 5.7 percent since June.

“Both natural gas price and oil price have been rising,” said state economist Wenlin Liu. “That’s a good signal. And another sign we have been seeing is that the unemployment insurance claim has been flattening.”

Working families.org

A group called Fed Up is hoping to get the ear of the Federal Reserve this week. The Fed is holding its annual meeting in Jackson Hole and several of the central bank's officials have agreed to meet with members of the Fed Up campaign. 

The Federal Reserve is currently considering raising interest rates, but Fed Up Field Director Shawn Sebastian said it’s not the time.

Leigh Paterson

  

Wind turbines are pretty sleek-looking from a distance, but there’s a lot going on behind those spinning blades.

Bryan Boatright, a wind energy technology instructor at Laramie County Community College, took me up into a deconstructed nacelle. A nacelle is a big rectangular box that holds generation components like the generator and drive train. Each one looks like an RV.

Wyoming Education Association

  

  

Educators from across the country are meeting in Washington D.C. this week for the annual National Education conference. Kathy Vetter is the Wyoming Education Association President. While some states still struggle with funding, others have restored education money to pre-2008 levels. That’s not the case in Wyoming, where a downturn in the energy economy has led to cuts in education funding for the first time in many years. Vetter told Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that the cuts came faster than educators thought they would. 

University of Wyoming Facebook

Wyoming is facing difficult economic times. Last year, the state lost 6,500 jobs, mostly in oil and gas, and things haven’t much better this year. The state government is making major reductions and even Wyoming Medical Center in Casper cut 58 positions. For that reason, right now is a tough time for University of Wyoming’s graduates to enter the job force, particularly if they want to stay in the state.

Road Tripping Along North Dakota's Oil Bust Alley

May 13, 2016

Dickinson, North Dakota is a very different place than it was two years ago, when this oilfield town of less than 30,000 people was one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Since then, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 percent. Nowhere are signs of the slowdown more visible than along Dickinson’s Highway 22. I decided to take a road trip to see what had changed along oil bust alley.

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Gail Japp’s bright blue eyes are the kind you keep on noticing. I met the 64-year-old at her home outside of Gillette, Wyoming on a gray, windy, day in April. She had just finishing filling out unemployment paperwork.

Japp is one of the 235 coal miners who were laid off by Peabody Energy in March. Arch Coal cut around 230 positions that same week.

I asked her how she felt that day. Her reply: “Devastated, scared. What in the world am I gonna do? I’m single. I’m 64. I have a mortgage. Am I gonna lose my house?”

Pew Charitable Trusts

Wyoming lawmakers should consider almost doubling the state’s rainy day reserve fund if they want to be assured that the fund would be enough to weather an economic downturn.

That’s one of the main takeaways a presentation from the research arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts to Wyoming’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee Friday in Buffalo.  

Due to falling gas prices and the end of a Wyoming tax credit, the state’s only ethanol plant is closing its doors. 

The tax credit expired in July, but current gas and corn prices also added to the demise of Goshen County business Wyoming Ethanol.

Goshen County Economic Development Director Ashley Harpstreith said 18 workers will be displaced, but she’s hopeful that this is a temporary shutdown. 

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

The report by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations, details Chinese commercial investment in the US by congressional district. Wyoming, with just one congressional district, has seen around $770 million in Chinese investment state-wide.  According to Shawn Reese of the Wyoming Business Council, this is largely the result of two joint ventures between Chinese and American oil and gas companies in the DJ Basin and Powder River Basin.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

 

 

 

Last week, we brought you what falling oil prices mean for North Dakota, in five numbers. This week, we bring you Wyoming’s outlook, again in five numbers.

1) $37.90 per barrel.

In Wyoming the energy industry accounts for nearly 70 to 80 percent of the state’s wealth. Wyoming builds its budget around energy prices and sales taxes that are connected to energy. When commodity prices fall, it’s difficult to fund government services.

After the oil downturn of the 1980’s funding the government was a challenge and Wyoming’s incoming Speaker of the House Kermit Brown remembers that it got especially bad in the late 90’s. 

commons.wikimedia.org

A new report out from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that the state continues to do well economically, but housing costs are rising in several counties. Converse County has had a twenty percent increase in both apartment rent and house payments. Teton continues to be the most expensive county to live in comparatively.

Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the department and says the state overall is doing well.

Energy Information Administration

According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, mining occupied approximately 35 percent of Wyoming’s GDP in 2013, up from around 29 percent in 2003. That makes Wyoming the most mining-dependent state in the country.

The increase comes despite calls from the Wyoming Business Council to diversify the state’s industries.

Wyoming Principal Economist Jim Robinson said that after concentrating on energy for so long, growth in areas outside energy is slow.

The June edition of Wyoming Insight, published by the Economic Analysis Division, shows positive growth in a number of areas across the state.  The report tracks economic conditions in Wyoming.

State economist Jim Robinson is the author of the report.  He says the revenue outlook for the state is consistent across both energy and business indexes.

townmapusa.com / http://townmapsusa.com/d/map-of-casper-wyoming-wy/casper_wy

Casper business owners will vote on whether to renew a tax on downtown businesses to fund the Downtown Development Authority.

 The Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, is run by several business owners in Casper with the goal of improving the city’s downtown area and attracting customers to businesses.

 City Councilman Bob Hopkins says the DDA provides important services.

Rebecca Martinez

In this time of job insecurity and a changing medical landscape, the University of Wyoming’s School of Pharmacy Education is graduating dozens of doctoral students who – for the most part – can count on a securing a good-paying job once they get their degree, if not before. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.

(phone rings, “Thank you for calling Walgreens…”)

REBECCA MARTINEZ: Sarah Pence is a pharmacist at Walgreens in Laramie. She says her store fills hundreds of medications on a daily basis, and there’s a lot she loves about her job.

UW Trustees request $13M for pay raises

Jul 26, 2013

The University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees decided Friday to ask the state for $13.3 million to cover merit-based raises for faculty and staff.


Former University President Tom Buchanan tried unsuccessfully to secure raises in the past, and Board President David Bostrom says UW is now seeing an “exodus” of high-performing employees.

WSGS study lists potentially abundant rare earth deposits

Jun 4, 2013
swissmetalassets.com

The Wyoming State Geological Survey has released a study showing an abundance of rare earth metals in rock samples from across the state.

Wikipedia

More than two dozen outdoor advocacy groups wrote the US Forest Service this week, asking it to remove almost 45,000 acres-worth of land in the Wyoming Range from consideration for oil and gas leases.

The organizations, including Trout Unlimited and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, said the land comprises vital habitat for mule deer, moose and cutthroat trout.

Wyoming’s job market slows after boom

Feb 14, 2013

Wyoming’s economy is slowing down. That’s according to numbers from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

In the second quarter of 2012, job growth was up, especially in the construction sector. Employment increased in 18 Wyoming counties. At almost 1,700 new jobs, Natrona County led the state.

But Department Senior Economist David Bullard says the numbers for the third quarter of 2012 will show a different picture…

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