January 29, 2015
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Greetings and Happy New Year! May the new year bring you health, wealth and happiness. To quote John Steinbeck, "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?" Looking forward to a "sweet" summer!

In this edition, we profile the demographics of Sheridan's workforce.

I encourage you to to others in the community who might find it useful and join the mailing list for future issues.

Welcome home, Sheridan!
- Mayor John Heath
Earnings and Wages in Sheridan County
Wage information offers a useful comparison of Sheridan's workforce with that of other communities. Data compiled by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is summarized into the following key measures:
  • Mean Wage: the average wage in the population - in this case, Sheridan County
  • Median Wage: the midpointl of wages in the county; while the mean (average) can be skewed by a few unusually high or low paying jobs, the median wage is the true middle of the range
  • Percentile: a portion of the population, in this case based on earnings. For example, the 10th percentile level shows that the bottom 10% (by earnings) of Sheridan's workforce make $9.99/hr or less.
These segments provide standardized points at which to compare wage data from one area to another.
Comparing the data, the lower percentiles of Sheridan County's workforce have higher average wages than the state and nation. On the other hand, the higher-earning percentiles have lower average wages than their state and national counterparts.

In looking at the midpoint, Sheridan County's median wage of $17.74/hr is higher than the national median of $16.87/hr, but lower than the state median of $18.25/hr.

Exploring how different earning levels of Sheridan County's workforce compare to other communities is valuable in assessing the competitiveness of Sheridan's wages and the costs of labor to businesses. As shown in the chart above, the bottom 10th percentile of Sheridan's workforce still earns more than $1/hr higher than the national average. However, by the 75th percentile, both the national and state average wage levels have surpassed Sheridan County.
Unemployment Trends

Another significant measure of an area's workforce is the unemployment rate. Examining the latest unemployment rate provides insight not only into the current utilization of the workforce, but historic data also offers greater insight into seasonal patterns and long-term impacts on the economy.


According to data from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Sheridan County's unemployment rate declined steadily between 2011-2013 (aggregate data for 2014 is not available at this time).


Unemployment rates are often adjusted to reflect seasonal changes in employment, providing a more balanced means of assessing the economy. However, data that is not seasonally adjusted can also provide insight into the cyclic employment patterns of a given area. The unadjusted data in the graph below shows both seasonal fluctuations in Sheridan County's employment over several years, as well as the overall decrease in unemployment rate regardless of season.


Sheridan County's unemployment peaks in January and February - most likely due to the impacts of winter weather on tourism, recreation and outdoor jobs.

*Not seasonally adjusted
Educating the Workforce
Sheridan's residents place a high emphasis on education. According to 2013 US Census Bureau data, more than 94% of our adult population are high-school graduates, which is more than 8% higher than the national average.

Considering higher-education attainment, 27.4% of Sheridan County's population has earned a bachelor's degree or higher. This is slightly lower than the national average of 28.8%.

As the education requirements of the workforce continue to increase, technical education training programs and access to post-high-school education will become progressively more necessary for a competitive workforce.