- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - A Laramie business group wants to diversify the local economy and help boost incomes, which lag behind Wyoming counties with high-paying energy and mining jobs.

The average per-capita annual income in Albany County was $38,601 in 2012, nearly 24 percent below the state average of$50,567, the Laramie Boomerang reported Thursday (https://tinyurl.com/otcdxjp ). Albany County includes Laramie.

One reason for the discrepancy is that other counties have more jobs in oil, gas and mining, Laramie Chamber Business Alliance President Dan Furphy said.

Annette Mello of the state Workforce Services Department said most Albany County jobs listed with the agency are office positions paying between the mid-$20,000s and low $30,000s.

Most of the higher-paying jobs are in Sublette, Campbell and Sweetwater counties, where the economy is driven by mineral industries, she said.

The average annual wage in Sublette County was about $62,000 in 2012, and it was about $57,000 in Campbell County, the state’s coal-mining center, she said.

Another factor is that students at the University of Wyoming in Laramie are included in the income figures, and some have lower-paying jobs in the hospitality sector, Furphy said.

The Chamber Business Alliance is pursuing technology and manufacturing businesses. Albany County has 70 technology-related businesses, Furphy said, and that could expand.

“We really should be the center for those kinds of jobs in the state with the university being right here,” he said.

Manufacturing jobs are now higher-level, well-paying positions because the industry relies on robotics, lasers and other technology, Murphy said.

Albany County’s relatively low incomes are balanced by a traditionally low unemployment rate, Mello said. The most recent county jobless rate was 4.3 percent, slightly higher than usual.

“So we have a lot of people that are employed. The wages are just a little bit different,” she said.


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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