Cheyenne: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Cheyenne's economy is based mainly on light manufacturing, agriculture, the military and government, tourism, services, and transportation. Cattle- and sheep-raising continue to be important in the region, yet the economy of Cheyenne has become diversified with the development of industries such as fertilizer processing plants. Other manufacturing includes electronic products and precision instruments as well as restaurant equipment. F. E. Warren U.S. Air Force Base, site of a major installation of the Strategic Air Command, is the city's largest employer; federal, state, and county government offices are located in Cheyenne. Major private sector employers include United Medical Center, Union Pacific Railroad, Lowe's Companies, Inc., Sierra Trading Post, Echo Star Communications, Frontier Refining, WalMart, Little America, Hitching Post Inn, and Life Care Cheyenne. With access to two railroads, to interstate freeways, and to commercial air service, the city is a vital transportation center for the state of Wyoming.

Items and goods produced: ski wear, oil, fertilizer, flight instruments and testing equipment

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

At the local level, Cheyenne LEADS, a private, not-for-profit economic development organization, assists non-retail businesses through such services as site location, employee training, and demographic and financial assistance. The Wyoming Business Council's regional office in Cheyenne offers expansion assistance for current businesses, and relocation assistance for businesses looking to expand into the area.

State programs

Wyoming's history of minimal involvement in its citizens' lives is reflected in its low taxes on businesses and individuals. There is no corporate or personal state income tax and no sales and use tax on fuel, power, or raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Goods in transit or manufactured or assembled and sold outside the state are exempt from tax, and the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is among the lowest in the country. The state offers a variety of loan, grant, and bond programs available to new, expanding, and relocating businesses.

Job training programs

Laramie County School District provides education programs at the secondary level in areas such as agricultural science, industrial technology, business and marketing education, health occupations, and core employability skills. Cheyenne colleges work with both businesses and the community to develop training programs for businesses and potential employees. Our Families Our Future in Cheyenne provides assistance to populations living below poverty through training programs and job search help. Our Families Our Future works with Wyoming agencies, community colleges, and employers; the organization began the CLIMB program in 2004 to train eligible single mothers in the field of medical transcription.

Development Projects

In 2001, city leaders, the chamber of commerce, and other individuals and organizations got together to finalize the Greater Cheyenne Vision 2020 plan. The plan calls for a variety of projects to revitalize the city's downtown, as well as create economic development, quality jobs, new entertainment and recreation opportunities, and transportation options.

Recently, United Medical Center of Cheyenne completed a $31 million renovation of one of Wyoming's largest hospitals. The 198-bed hospital, a public facility owned by Laramie County, spent $15 million to build a new patient tower and reconstruct its front entrance. Completed in 2002, the project received the Wyoming Engineering Society Presidential Project Award. In 2002, home-improvement retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. opened a 1,000,000-square-foot regional distribution center. In 2004 Cheyenne LEADS purchased 612 acres on which the West I-80 Business Park will be built. This second of two business parks owned by LEADS will have its own interchange onto I-80.

Economic Development Information: Cheyenne LEADS, 1720 Carey, Suite 401, PO Box 1045, Cheyenne, WY 82003; telephone (307)638-6000; toll-free (800)255-0742; email

Commercial Shipping

A major transportation center in the state, Cheyenne routes air cargo service through Cheyenne Regional Airport. Two railroads provide daily freight transportation, and a variety of motor freight carriers move goods through facilities in Cheyenne and onto interstates 80 and 25.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Cheyenne's labor force is described as available, educated, and productive. Although the local unemployment rate is low, a 2001 study conducted by PathFinders Resources found there are about 12,300 underemployed workers in Laramie and Goshen counties in Wyoming and portions of nearby Larimer and Weld counties in Colorado.

In July 2004 Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Cheyenne the top tax-friendly city in the country. Wyoming residents gain from the state's lenient tax structure, including no personal income tax, capital gains tax, and corporate income taxes. The state does not levy estate tax beyond the federal pick-up level, nor does it levy an electric utilities tax. Low health insurance rates are also in effect.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Cheyenne labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 40,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 2,600

manufacturing: 1,500

trade, transportation and utilities: 8,600

information: 1,000

financial activities: 2,000

professional and business services: 3,200

educational and health services: 3,100

leisure and hospitality: 4,400

other services: 1,600

government: 12,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing (State of Wyoming): $16.74

Unemployment rate: 4.3% (February 2005)

Cheyenne: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
F.E. Warren U.S. Air Force Base 4,190
State of Wyoming 3,574
U.S. Government 1,811
Laramie County School District #1 1,794
United Medical Center 992
Union Pacific Railroad 700

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Cheyenne area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $340,193

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 111.0 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: 4.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.0%

Property tax rate: 77.31 mills on 9.5% of residential market value (2004)

Economic Information: Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, 301 West 16 Street, PO Box 1147, Cheyenne, WY 82003-1147; telephone (307)638-3388; fax (307)778-1450. Laramie County Community College, Center for Economic and Business Data, 1400 E. College Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82007; telephone (307)778-1325; fax (307)778-4309