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Vitality of the Wyoming Economy

Posted on: Feb 27, 2018

The vitality of the local economies of towns and regions in Wyoming impacts the every-day lives of landowners. For folks that live on the land and work on their ranches year-round, the growth of regions affects the viability of local school districts, accessibility to health care, and availability of off-farm jobs. For absentee landowners who may visit their ranches a few times a year, rural communities and regional population centers provide them the amenities they may need while in Wyoming.

Aspects such as the general location, which elk unit the property is in, the forage capacity, access to water for agriculture, industrial, and recreation use, mineral right inclusion, and the availability of fresh water fisheries play into a property’s value. Similarly, though indirectly, the vibrancy of nearby communities, rural and otherwise, affects a property’s value.

From 2015 to 2017 the GDP in the United States grew by 3.3 percent, but in Wyoming the GDP only grew 0.85 percent. However, looking at 2018, the economy of Wyoming is improving according to University of Wyoming economists. As oil prices near $60 per barrel and natural gas prices improve, the economy at large improves because the state relies on energy companies for approximately 70 percent of its tax revenue. According to Jim Robinson, a State of Wyoming Economic Analysis Division economist, oil companies will likely need to see another six months of oil and gas prices at or above current rates before they expand operations in Wyoming. Though this is relatively positive news, Mark Haggerty of Headwaters Economics said that this likely stronger demand for oil and gas in 2018 will be coupled with a long, downward trend in coal.

That being said, Cloud Peak Energy has entered into an agreement with Singapore-based JERA Trading to supply coal to the company’s Japanese power plants. According to a company announcement, “Shipments are expected to commence as early as the end of 2019 and continue for a period of between 30 and 40 months, reaching up to 1 million metric (tons) in the final year.”

Also in the energy sector, Rocky Mountain Power is accelerating wind development and transmission in Wyoming ahead of a 2020 deadline in order to take advantage of federal tax credits that will likely soon expire. The company is moving forward four projects:

  1. 500 megawatt project in Carbon and Albany Counties (PacifiCorp will build, own, and operate the farm)
  2. 400 megawatt project in Converse County (built by NextEra Energy Resources and joint-owned by NextEra and Pacificorp)
  3. 250 megawatt facility in Carbon County (PacifiCorp will build, own, and operate the farm)
  4. 161 megawatt project in Uinta County (Invenergy will build, PacifiCorp will own and operate the farm)

According to Rocky Mountain Power, the projects will temporarily generate between 1,100 and 1,600 construction jobs and will permanently support 200 full-time jobs. Wyoming is set to receive a $120 million boost in tax revenue from the construction phase and an annual tax income of $14 million by 2024.

Existing sectors are growing and simultaneously businesses are moving to Wyoming. Firearms manufacturer Weatherby, Inc. is relocating its manufacturing operations and corporate headquarters to Sheridan, Wyoming. The move, which will be completed by 2019, will create 70 to 90 jobs. Weatherby executives chose Sheridan because of its access to both the outdoors and a skilled workforce. Sheridan College has been growing its manufacturing and machine tool program, which was also a deciding factor.

Are you considering owning property in Wyoming or expanding what you own in Wyoming? Let us help you understand the local economy and find the best property to fit your needs!

Post Categories: Industry News

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