|Former Peabody miner Sean Seems stands|
behind a plastic screen at an Alaska gold
mine. Former colleagues have been calling
him about Alaska jobs, he says. (WyoFile)
But since last month’s layoffs, "many families here are asking, what’s left for the workers?" Bleizeffer writes. "Not much. Not directly. There are no state-initiated jobs programs for those who are laid off in the energy sector. Unlike Alaska, there is no mineral royalty payment to Wyoming citizens. Instead, the state spends millions on infrastructure, K-12 and secondary education, various economic development strategies and on promoting the coal, oil and gas industries themselves."
"Wyoming lost more than 5,000 jobs last year, most of them in energy-producing regions," Bleizeffer writes. "The biggest job loss in Campbell County from third quarter 2014 to third quarter 2015 was in oil and gas, which shed 750 jobs compared to 115 direct mining jobs during the same period, according to state senior economist David Bullard. However, those losses in mining jobs—now at 580—may be of more concern. Oil and gas jobs are like icing on Campbell County’s cake—sometimes it’s thick and sometimes it is thin. Mining, however, has been an economic stabilizer that has helped service companies survive and even diversify in drilling downturns."