Oil and Gas Prices Increase in Wyoming Along with Jobs
In the most recent data from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information, it shows in March the state saw an increase in employment across a few sectors, while oil and gas prices increased due to the Russian war against Ukraine.
The West Texas Intermediate monthly average price for crude oil was $108.50 per barrel in March, with prices reaching a high of $119.65 on March 8, but in April has dropped down under $100 to $94.87 a barrel on April 11.
In a press release, Dylan Bainer, principal economist for the state's Economic Analysis Division, said the sharp increase in price was primarily due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict that began at the end of February.
The average number of active oil rigs was 12 in March, down from around 20 at the start of the pandemic, while the conventional gas rig count was three, compared to around 10 in 2019.
For natural gas, the average price in March was $4.42 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the Opal Hub, 17 cents lower than the previous month, while the Henry Hub had it priced at an average of $4.88/MMBtu, 22 cents higher than in February.
In terms of sales and use tax collections from the mining sector, those were up $2.4 million, 59.6%, year-over-year in March, and the 7th consecutive month collections from the mining sector have increased year-over-year.
Bainer said in the release that the increase in total collections, despite the decline in the mining sector, is mostly due to large increases in the retail trade and leisure and hospitality sectors, but a large amount of increase in collections in these industries can be attributed to inflation.
In Wyoming, the cost of living increased by 7.7% in the second quarter of 2021, compared to 1.1% at the same point in 2020, while across the country that number was 5.4% in the second quarter of 2021 and 0.4% at the same point in 2020.
Oil and gas employment in the state numbered 8,200 jobs in February 2022, as the unemployment numbers in the state as a whole continued to decrease, down to 3.7% during the same month, compared to 5% in February 2021.
However, employment in the oil and gas industry in Wyoming is still below what it was before the pandemic, when it clocked in at 12,000 jobs in April 2020.
Retail trade and professional and business services have more jobs than they did in February 2020, with the construction and the leisure and hospitality industries having roughly returned to their pre-covid levels of employment.
Both those industries increased their employment by 2,900 jobs and 3,500 jobs respectively in February 2022 compared to the same time last year.