Metro Milwaukee economy improved in January

More positive indicators than in December

Economic indicators

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:07 am

The metro Milwaukee economy improved in January as more of the economic indicators tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce posted year-over-year gains than in December.

In January 13 of the 23 indicators tracked by the MMAC posted year-over-year gain, compared to just nine positive indicators in December.

Economic indicators

However, the area’s job market remains weak. Nonfarm employment averaged 843,900 in January, down 0.2 percent from a year ago. Employment was down 0.9 percent in December, year-over-year.

Six of ten major industry sectors posted January year-over-year job declines in the area. The information sector registered the steepest job decrease, down 4.2 percent.

Non- job-related economic indicators did better in January. Passenger air traffic at Mitchell International Airport was up 0.3 percent. Metro area homes sales were up 3.8 percent.

Production worker indicators in the manufacturing sector trended upward. Average weekly earnings (up 16.3 percent), average hourly earnings (up 14.4 percent) and the length of the workweek (up 1.6 percent) for such workers all posted year-over-year gains in January.

“The aggregate position of the local economy somewhat covers for weakness in the metro area’s overall job picture,” said Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the MMAC. “While many non-employment based indicators show a positive trend, both total employment and job levels in most major industry sectors individually are currently registering year-over-year declines.”

The dip in unemployment is a bright spot. The number of unemployed in the metro area fell by 4,200 over the past 12 months (January, 2017 to January, 2016) to 34,300, a 10.9 percent decline from year-ago levels. The number of new unemployment compensation claims in metro Milwaukee numbered 5,748 for January, down 5 percent from one year ago. Metro Milwaukee’s unemployment rate for January fell to 4.2 percent (seasonally unadjusted), down 0.5 percentage points from one year ago.

New car registrations in the metro area fell 19.3 percent in January, year-over-year, to 1,662.

Read more economic reports at the BizTracker page.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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