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Ray Hunkins: Wyoming’s Economy Is Changing. Is State Government?


Anyone living in Wyoming knows that our state’s economy is in the process of systemic change. Systemic change occurs when change reaches all or most parts of the economy, thus affecting the general behavior of the entire economic system

That Wyoming has experienced systemic economic change, is not debatable. The change has been so radical and so rapid, that published statistics are not capable of providing accurate and useful information.

However, some recent data points reinforce the proposition that Wyoming’s economy is experiencing, “systemic change”.

In an article on January 15, 2021, the Casper Star Tribune reported that since 2019 Wyoming has lost over 14,000 jobs, a decline of 5%. In November 2020 alone, 6,000 mining jobs vanished, a “staggering 29% decline from a year ago”.

Despite the recent recovery of oil and gas prices, the article noted that there were only 6 rigs working in Wyoming last December, compared to 21 the previous December. According to a March 19 th Baker Hughes report, there were only 5 rotary rigs currently drilling in Wyoming, compared to 20 a year earlier.

The collapse of the energy economy has had a concomitant effect on Wyoming’s tax revenue. According to the January 15 th article, “mining companies […]

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