Wyoming unemployment filings decline, still way up from 2019

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Applications for temporary unemployment assistance in Wyoming declined during the week ending May 30 as the U.S. economy continued to struggle with measures to contain the coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

The number of applications submitted in Wyoming fell to 1,926, down 31% from the previous week but still up 338% compared to the same week last year, according to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration.

Wyoming has processed 43,444 claims for unemployment since March 14. That represents 16% of Wyoming’s total workforce eligible for the unemployment insurance program.

Wyoming contributed to a national increase in the seasonally-adjusted number of claims of 746% compared to the same week last year.

As of May 23, 17,149 total people in Wyoming were receiving unemployment benefits. That represents 6.4% of all eligible employees in the state.

Wyoming’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April was 9.2%, up from 3.5% a year earlier though still well below the nationwide rate of 14.7%.

Wyoming’s fossil-fuel extraction and tourism industries have been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus. Coal companies have laid off or furloughed hundreds of workers amid a decline in demand for electricity. Many restaurants and lodges remain closed.

Higher oil prices and easing public-health restrictions on restaurants and other tourism-related businesses hint at gradual recovery in the months ahead.

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