CASPER, Wyo. — Preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate Wyoming’s July unemployment rate was the lowest it has been since George W. Bush was president, but officials are saying that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported ( ) Monday that July’s low unemployment rate of 4 percent could be from people leaving the work force, which would make the numbers look better than they are.

Carola Cowan of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says while there wasn’t anywhere for unemployed Wyoming residents to go during the Great Recession, there is now. She says the economies are stronger in neighboring states, which could mean people are leaving.

Cowan says officials hope jobs come back to the state, especially since the mining industry has been rehiring.

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

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