MMAC economic indicators are murky

Twelve of 23 metro area economic indicators tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) posted year-over-year gains in August, the smallest number of improvements registered in 13 months and is down from the 14 positives posted in July.
“While the aggregate number of positive indictors has slipped in recent months, the trend among the most important indicators – jobs, unemployment, manufacturing – is largely positive,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director. “Nonetheless, the lack of breadth among all indicators suggests a certain measure of uncertainty regarding the recovery’s durability.”
Nonfarm employment averaged 832,700 in August, a 2.5-percent increase over year-ago levels.
The trend among major industry sectors was evenly split with five posting year-over-year job gains and five registering declines. Among major industry sectors, the leisure & hospitality sector posted the largest percentage gain, up 12.2 percent over year-ago levels. Conversely, a 6-percent job decline in the construction, mining and natural resource sector was the largest decrease registered.
New-car registrations in the metro area fell for the first time this year. August’s 6.1-percent decline follows the 4.1 year-over-year increase posted in July.
The metro area’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate averaged 8 percent in August, down 0.5 percentage points from one year ago. The local rate ranks higher than Wisconsin’s 7.3 percent rate but is below the 9.1 percent figure posted nationally.

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