06 Sep Jonathan Cartu States Economy is Hurting, Real Estate Thriving, Local Stats Say |…
A new report from the Wyoming Center for Business and Economic Analysis at LCCC confirms what many residents were thinking – the local economy took a major hit from COVID.
The report focuses on the second quarter of the year – April, May and June 2020.
“Oil prices fell to their lowest levels in over a decade in April and production fell to its lowest level since 2013 in May in response,” the report said. “Labor numbers were negative, as unemployment rose to 9.0 percent in (Laramie) county and 9.7 percent in Cheyenne in April, their highest levels since 2010, and initial unemployment claims were at the highest level since we started tracking the statistic in 1985.”
There was a loss of 1,600 jobs in Laramie County in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the second quarter of 2019. Most of those jobs (1,233) were lost between the first and second quarter of this year, when the pandemic hit, according to the report.
There were 1,948 unemployed workers in the first quarter. That group ballooned to 3,934 in the second quarter and was the highest number of unemployed in Laramie County since the WCBEA started recording the statistics in 1985.
Retail sales also were down, compared to the first quarter of 2020, and a year ago. There was even more bad news.
“Every museum and visitor center recorded its lowest second quarter total since we started tracking those numbers in 1993. Airplane enplanements declined and commercial service was suspended in April,” the report said.
The economic issues are having a big impact on local and state governments. The general level of economic activity in Laramie County, as measured by retail sales, decreased 14.1 percent from one year ago and both total tax collections and tax receipts by local governments decreased over the last year, according to the report.
“Tax collections fell by 9.1 percent and tax receipts fell by 8.7 percent from the second quarter of 2019 (compared) to the second quarter of 2020,” the report said.
There were some bright spots to the recent statistics. New home construction increased in rural Laramie County, and the number of delinquent loans owed to credit unions dropped.
In Cheyenne, the average real estate sales price rose from $271,134 in the second quarter of 2019 to $290,559 in the second quarter of 2020 (+7.2%). In the county, the year-over-year average sales price for homes rose by 4.6 percent, from $406,507 in the second quarter of 2019 to $425,291 in the second quarter of 2020.