- Associated Press - Monday, April 27, 2015

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming’s economy added jobs over the past year despite a decrease in oil prices.

The state had about 4,400 new jobs between February 2014 and February 2015, the Casper Star-Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1EwniTp ), although jobs in the mining industry plummeted by 4.4 percent.

The information was recently released by the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division.

Ten of 14 industries tracked by the division had job growth last year, including construction, financial activities and professional and business services.

Wyoming had 400 new construction jobs over the past year, according to the division.



But there were losses in the mining industry, which includes oil, natural gas, coal and the mineral known as trona. Those sectors lost 1,200 jobs.

For now, the economic slowdown seems to have primarily hit the mining sector, said Economic Analysis Division principal economist Jim Robinson.

Several employees laid off by oil companies when prices dropped are probably still in the state, he said, because oil jobs have declined in other states as well.

Some of those employees are looking for work in related fields, like construction, that have more openings.

Robinson said job losses seem to be slowing.

“It looks like maybe we’ve seen the worst, and we’re starting to flatten out,” he said. “Now it’s waiting to see if prices will recover enough to see more energy drilling in the state. That’s one of those great unknowns.”

“Despite the slowdown in energy, the gasoline prices will play to the state’s advantage at the right time of the year,” said Robinson.

“Across the state, we have very, very low gasoline prices, and that will bode well for people traveling to Wyoming and making plans to travel,” he said.

The state’s airports saw a boost in traffic over the past year.

Jackson Hole Airport passenger number increase by 8.7 percent, with almost 50,000 more people than flew in and out in 2013.

More passengers also flew to and from Casper’s airport.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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