Milwaukee-area economy improved in July

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The metro Milwaukee area’s economy showed signs of improvement in July, with more economic indicators posting year-over-year gains, according to data tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

The 22 area economic indicators with available data for July, 12 posted year-over-year gains in July, up from June when only 9 of those economic indicators posted year-over-year gains, according to the MMAC.

That improvement came after three of the previous four months with fewer than half of the economic indicators tracked by the MMAC showing year-over-year improvement.

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  • Nonfarm employment in the area was 885,400 in July, a 1.1% increase from a year ago.
  • In the Milwaukee area, 6 of 10 major industry sectors posted employment gains in July. The leisure and hospitality sector posted the biggest gain at 4.9 percent. Education and health services employment was up 3.8%.
  • Existing home sales in the area were up 4.6 percent, year-over-year, and new mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County were up 16.2 percent.

However, the area’s manufacturing-related indicators have weakened in recent months. Average weekly hours fell 9.9% in July. Average weekly earnings dropped 12.6% in July. Employment in the sector rose only 0.2% during July, after falling 0.1% in June.

The Milwaukee-area manufacturing sector contracted again in August, the third time in the last four months the sector has shrunk, according to the latest Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.

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