Unemployment remains stable as companies publish job vacancies | Local News


SHERIDAN – As many local businesses post job vacancies, Sheridan County’s unemployment rate has remained remarkably stable, even dropping from 4.9% in May to 5.1% in June.

Why do unemployment figures remain stable while vacancies are widespread? There is no single answer, according to David Bullard, senior economist at the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

“It’s a phenomenon we’ve seen nationally and statewide,” Bullard said. “We don’t really have the data to provide a definitive answer, but there are a number of possibilities. “

There could be a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and the skills needed for available jobs, Bullard said. A lack of available housing could prevent people from settling in the community and filling available positions. Prospective employees may not be able to access affordable child care or may be concerned about the safety of entering the workforce as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread.

It’s also possible that people were less motivated to look for work because of the increase in unemployment benefits from the federal government, Bullard said. These benefits ended in June, so the unemployment figures for July, which are expected to be released on August 23, will provide a snapshot of the contribution of these benefits to unemployment rates.

“The point is, we can’t identify just one reason for the large number of jobs available. it’s probably a combination of many factors, ”said Ty Stockton, communications manager for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.

As of June 2021, Sheridan County had an unemployment rate of 5.1%. That’s slightly better than the state average of 5.6%. In June, the county had 849 unemployed, according to the DWS.

The county’s unemployment rate edged up from 4.9% – and 818 unemployed – in May, according to Bullard. This increase, shared by many counties in the state, reflects a common trend in early summer.

“It is not uncommon to see unemployment rise in June,” Bullard said. “It’s linked to the fact that young people leave school and look for work. When they start looking for work, they are immediately counted among the unemployed even if they are only looking for a week or two. This increase is therefore not necessarily surprising or unexpected.

While unemployment rose slightly from May to June, it declined from June 2020, when 5.4% of the county’s population – or 885 residents – were unemployed, Bullard said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell 1.7% in the past year, from 7.3% to 5.6%. The total number of unemployed fell from 21,849 in June 2020 to 16,825 in June 2021.

“After the COVID outbreak last year, we are seeing things slowly getting better,” Bullard said. “Things have been pretty stable since then. “

This is good news for the state, Bullard said, but as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, anyone can guess how things will turn out from here.

“Unemployment is unpredictable as the pandemic situation continues to evolve,” Bullard said. “Over the past year, we’ve had bigger ups and downs than ever before in a very short period of time. While we hope we don’t have to relive this, it’s hard to see where things could go from here on out. “

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