July, 2014

For further information contact Economic Research Director BRET MAYBORNE at (414) 287.4122

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August 27, 2014 – Metro Milwaukee’s economy remains on a healthy path as 16 of 23 July economic indicators improved over year-ago levels, according to a monthly report by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC). The number of positives is down from June’s 18 upward pointing indicators but matches the number posted in both April and May.

"While the aggregate number of improved indicators stepped down a bit in July, overall job growth remains robust," said Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the MMAC. "Employment levels in the metro area are growing at a pace over one full percentage point above the seven month average and year-over-year job gains cut across most major industry groups."


"Employment levels in the metro area are growing at a pace over one full percentage point above the seven month average and year-over-year job gains cut across most major industry groups."

 

Bret Mayborne
MMAC Director
of Economic Research

     

Highlights of the report include:

• Nonfarm employment averaged 849,100 in July, a 2.6% increase vs. year-ago levels. July’s gain follows the 2.7% gain posted in June (vs. June, 2013) and ranks higher than the 1.5% average increase posted over 2014’s first seven months.

• July employment gains were broad-based with year-over-year growth in seven of ten major industry sectors. The construction, mining & natural resources sector registered the strongest increase (up 6.9%) while the financial activities sector (down 2.2%) recorded the sharpest decline.

• Usage of Mitchell International Airport continues to rebound. Passenger totals at the airport rose 3.3% in July over year-ago levels, this indicator’s sixth consecutive year-over-year increase.

Local unemployment indicators continue to post significant gains. New unemployment compensation claims fell 31.3%, this indicator’s tenth consecutive year-over-year decline. The number of unemployed totaled 54,000 in July, a 12.1% decrease from one year-ago.

The fall in the number of unemployed led to a one percentage point fall in the unemployment rate. July’s seasonally unadjusted jobless rate of 6.6% for metro Milwaukee ranks lower than the 7.6% rate posted one year ago. Currently, the local unemployment rate ranks higher than the state's 5.8% rate and the nation's 6.5% figure.
 
Indicators: July, 2014 vs. July, 2013
The number of nonfarm jobs in the metro area numbered 849,100 in July, an increase of 21,200 jobs (up 2.6%) over year-ago levels. Year-over-year job gains have averaged 21,900 over the past two months after averaging less than half that (8,500) in 2014’s first five months.

The number of nonfarm jobs in the metro area numbered 849,100 in July, an increase of 21,200 jobs (up 2.6%) over year-ago levels. Year-over-year job gains have averaged 21,900 over the past two months after averaging less than half that (8,500) in 2014’s first five months.

Seven of ten major industry sectors posted year-over-year gains for July. The construction, mining and natural resources sector posted July’s strongest increase, up 6.9%, to 29,400. Other gainers included the leisure & hospitality (up 6.1%), education & health services (up 4.6%), government (up 3.7%), professional & business services (up 3.1%), trade, transportation & utilities (up 1.4%), and manufacturing (up 0.5%) sectors.

July job declines were posted in three major industries. The 2.2% decline (to 53,900) in the financial activities sector, ranked as the largest percentage decrease on a year-over-year level. Smaller declines were registered in the information (down 0.7%) and other services (down 0.5%) sectors.

Manufacturing related indicators posted mixed results. The average length of a manufacturing production workers workweek remain in a slump. Average hours fell 2.6% (to 41.2 hours) from one year ago, this indicator’s ninth consecutive year-over-year decline. Both earnings indicators moved in a positive direction. Average weekly earnings for production workers rose 2.8% (to $782), and average hourly earnings increased 5.6%, to $18.97. Both gains surpassed the 2% increase nationally in consumer price inflation over the same time period.

Local housing and real estate indicators tracked by the MMAC moved downward in July. Existing home sales in the metro area posted a small decline – down 1.1% to 1,609. Mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County registered its eleventh consecutive month of double-digit decline, down 24.7% from year-ago levels, to 2,305.

New-car registrations fell for the second time in three months. Registrations fell 1.9% from year-ago levels, to 3,088, but remain up 1.5% cumulatively over 2014’s first seven months. Air passenger totals at Mitchell International Airport rose for the sixth consecutive month, up 3.3% in July, to 610,965.

Other Indicators (latest available)
The value of signed construction contracts, as reported by F.W. Dodge for June, was $118.8 million, down 16% from June, 2013. Consumer prices nationally, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 2% in July (vs. July, 2013) to 238.250 (1982-84 =100). The Milwaukee area CPI-U reached 228.005 for the first half of 2014, a 1.1% increase from 2013's first half.

The value of signed construction contracts, as reported by F.W. Dodge for June, was $118.8 million, down 16% from June, 2013. Consumer prices nationally, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), rose 2% in July (vs. July, 2013) to 238.250 (1982-84 =100). The Milwaukee area CPI-U reached 228.005 for the first half of 2014, a 1.1% increase from 2013's first half.