Metro Milwaukee economy remains sluggish

Employment dipped in March

Economic indicators

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

The metro Milwaukee economy remained sluggish in March and area employment dipped for the month, compared to a year ago, according to the latest economic trends report from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Economic indicators“Through 2017’s first three months, the lack of overall job growth in the metro area is of primary concern,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director.

Of the 22 available indicators tracked regularly by the MMAC, 11 posted year-over-year gains in March, the same number of growing indicators as in February.

Employment in the metro area totaled 851,700 in March, down 0.3 percent from one year ago. March’s decline is slightly smaller than the 0.7 percent decrease registered in February but marks the fourth consecutive month of job decline vs. year-ago levels.

By major industry sector, the strongest year-over-year job gain was posted in the government sector, up 1.3 percent, while the steepest decline was registered in the construction, mining & natural resources sector, down 5.1 percent.

New car registrations were down 15.8 percent in March, year-over-year, to 1,977.

On the bright side, earnings indicators for manufacturing production workers continued their robust gains. Average weekly earnings for such workers rose 8.2 percent, while average hourly earnings increased 10.1 percent.

Also, Unemployment indicators for the metro area improved in March. The number of unemployed fell by 8,800 from one year ago, leading to a one percentage point fall in the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate.

Metro Milwaukee’s unemployment rate averaged 3.7 percent in March, matching the 3.7 percent rate posted statewide but nearly a full percentage point below the 4.6 percent figure recorded nationally.

The number of existing homes sold in the metro area was up 6.8 percent in March, year-over-year.

Read more economic data 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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