CHEYENNE, Wyo.- For two consecutive years, Wyoming's population has continued to decline, particularly due to the state's economy according to Wyoming Principal Economist Wenlin Liu. However, unlike the trend, Cheyenne City Councilman Dicky Shanor says the Capital City has actually continued to grow one to two percent every year. Both Shanor and Liu anticipate growth in the area in 2018.
Shanor said economic growth in Northern Colorado has already started to trickle over the state's border into Cheyenne. He said, "This economic growth going north in Northern Colorado, for years it's been sort of an economic detriment to Cheyenne." Shanor added, "We lose out on a lot of sales tax, a lot of people going down there to eat, shop, etc... But now, I think, it's very advantageous for Cheyenne."
Liu says while Colorado has continued to see that growth and been the Cowboy State's number one competitor when it comes to the labor force, the neighboring state has also experienced their own inconveniences. Liu said, "Colorado is getting to a point their traffic congestion, also their housing price, has increased so much for the past three to four years." For anyone deciding to leave Wyoming, Liu says they might think twice.
Shanor agreed and said, "As the inconveniences such as traffic and other issues make Colorado a more challenging place to live and raise a family, I think we're going to see a lot more people look at Cheyenne as a place to settle their roots."
Not only is growth anticipated in Cheyenne, but the Capital City is ready, according to Shanor. He said the city has built up reserves significantly over the last five years, and added, "We need to try and continue to look at our processes for development for business and make sure we're being as efficient as possible and being as self-sustaining as possible."
With anticipated population growth, both Liu and Shanor say its impacts can benefit the city and state's economy. With a tighter labor market, Liu expects more people will choose to stay in Wyoming, which will hopefully help other industries in the area. Shanor also added, "You see more retail, you see more industrial, and all of that starts to accumulate into more economic development both in the private sector and in the public sector."
Shanor is hopeful for growth in 2018 and concluded the interview by saying, "Cheyenne is really going to be the economic key to where the state of Wyoming goes for the next foreseeable future."