Job Growth in Gilliam, Sherman, and Wheeler Counties a Mixed Bag

by Dallas Fridley

March 22, 2018

Sherman County produced a nonfarm employment increase of 110 jobs or 15 percent from 2007 to 2017 to average 840. Sherman County experienced all of its job growth from 2007 to 2015, holding steady over the last two years.
Gilliam County performed well recently, rising by 60 jobs from 2015 to 2017 to average 790 (+8%). The county’s recent growth offset some but not all of its 100 job loss from 2007 to 2015.

Wheeler County also enjoyed recent growth, gaining 20 nonfarm jobs (+7%) from 2015 to 2017 to average 310 after holding steady for most of the decade.
Private industry led Sherman County, averaging 480 jobs in 2017, an increase of 60 jobs or 14 percent over 2007. Government employment rose by 50 jobs from 2007 to 2017 to average 360, an increase of 16 percent. Government experienced growth throughout the decade, while private industry cut 30 jobs between 2015 and  2017. Trade, transportation, and utilities grew by 50 jobs from 2007 to 2017 to lead private industry, while retail trade lost 40 and leisure and hospitality cut 20. Government job growth came from an unlikely source, with the Feds adding 40 jobs to average 140.

Gilliam County lost 80 private-industry jobs from 2007 to 2017 to average 520, a drop of 13 percent. Professional and business services proved to be the exception, producing a gain of 50 jobs or 36 percent to average 190 in 2017. Gilliam County experienced a construction boom thanks to wind farm development, reaching a private-industry peak of 710 jobs in 2008 and falling back to 490 by 2013. Over the past two years, private industry rose by 40 jobs (+8%). Government grew throughout the past decade, rising by 40 jobs to average 270 in 2017. Local government produced all of the growth, while state government cut 10 jobs.

Wheeler County’s private-industry employment rose by 20 jobs or 14 percent from 2007 to 2017 to produce all of its growth. Trade, transportation, and utilities led Wheeler County’s private-industry job growth, while leisure and hospitality held steady. Government produced a mixed bag, gaining jobs over the past two years, just enough to make up for its losses from 2007 to 2015.

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