Economic brief

Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor


County’s taxable sales down

Weston County’s taxable sales dropped 6.4% from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021 according to a Jan. 4 economic summary from the State of Wyoming Economic Analysis Division. 

That 6.4%, according to a breakdown for Weston County, equates to a $95,557 loss in sales and use tax across all of the industries. 

The largest losses, in terms of percentages, were seen in the construction industry with a loss of 71.8%, or approximately $30,000; the transportation and warehouse industry with a loss of 38.5%, or $20,000; public administration, reflecting automobile sales with a decline of 22.7%, or approximately $70,000; and the financial activities industry, including auto, machinery and equipment leasing, with a loss of 84.3%, or $40,000. 

Decreases were also seen in the mining industry at 11.4%, or $10,000; wholesale trade at 7.2%, or roughly $5,000; retail trade with a loss of 1.9%, or $10,000; information with a loss of 6.2%, or less than $2,000; and education and health services with a decline of 21.1%, or $40. 

Various industries experienced increases in taxable sales during the same time period despite the overall decrease county wide. 

While the increases look significant at between 5.2% and 206%, they equate to roughly $89,000 in sales and use tax across six different industries. The largest increases, dollar-wise, were seen in the utilities industry with $50,000 more in sales and use tax in the third quarter of 2021 over 2020, and the leisure and hospitality industry, mainly restaurants and lodging, with an increase of $20,000. 

Other industries seeing an increase include agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, manufacturing, professional and business services and
other services. 

Statewide during the same period, taxable sales increased 1.5% to $5.3 billion. 

“Despite the surge of the Delta variant, Wyoming’s economy continued to rebound in the third quarter, but the pace has decelerated,” said Dr. Wenlin Liu, chief economist with the Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis. 


County GDP declines again

Weston County’s gross domestic product dropped 11.5% from 2019 to 2020, according to a Dec. 15 report from the State of Wyoming Economic Analysis Division. The GDP is the market value of goods and services produced by the labor and property located in the designated area. 

“Eighteen of Wyoming’s 23 counties experienced decreases in GDP between 2019 and 2020. Sublette and Converse counties declined the fastest, -27.5% and -23%, respectively,” the report says. “Carbon (-17.1%), Sweetwater (-12.9%), Weston (-11.5%), Platte (-10.7%), Natrona (-10.5%) and Uinta (-10.4%) counties also experienced double-digit declines. Reduced mineral extraction activities and services were the main reason for these counties’ steep contractions.” 

Only five counties, those with little energy production in their economies demonstrated an increase. Crook County experienced the largest increase at 3.4%, followed by Sheridan at 2.1%, Albany at 1.4%, Big Horn at 1.1% and Lincoln at 0.5%. 

Statewide, the gross domestic product dropped 8.3% from 2019 to 2020. This growth represents the worst year for Wyoming’s economic growth since 1986, a release on the subject states. 

Nationally, the decreasing rate of 2.2% was the steepest since World War II, despite the fact that the COVID-19 recession lasted just two months (March and April), the shortest recession in U.S. history, according to the report. 

“The coronavirus pandemic ravaged businesses and households due to government restrictions and demand reduction,” said Dr. Wenlin Liu, chief economist with the Economic Analysis Division. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic only contributed to the decline in certain areas; others have seen a steady decrease in GDP for sometime.
“Since 2008, nearly half of Wyoming’s counties experienced a decline in GDP. Sublette and Johnson diminished 83.5% and 71% each. Campbell, Carbon, Sweetwater, Uinta and Weston counties all declined more than 30%,” the report states. 

According to a breakdown of the gross domestic product by county, Weston County experienced a decline of 37.4% since 2008. This is equivalent to $167 million. 

In 2008, Weston County reported a GDP of $446 million. In 2020, that amount had dropped to $279 million. 

Statewide, the GDP dropped 15.2% from 2008 to 2020. The state’s GDP was reported to be $42,819 million in
2008, dropping to $36,324 million in 2020, a difference of $6,495 million. The report notes that this is due to the devastation caused by the dramatic decrease in Wyoming’s pivotal industry – mining. 

“Wyoming mining has decreased by 71.5% since 2008,” the release states.


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