Economic indicators in metro Milwaukee posted a solid July performance, according to a monthly report by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
Seventeen of MMAC’s 22 available July indicators improved from year-ago levels, matching the number of positive indicators posted in June.
“The aggregate number of improving indicators in the past two months has reached a high-water mark relative to its performance over the previous 11 months,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director. “While the base of growth has certainly broadened recently there still is come concern about whether the level of local growth is strong enough to be sustainable for an extended period.”
Highlights of the report include:
- Nonfarm employment in the Milwaukee area rose 1 percent in July vs. year-ago levels, equaling the 1 percent gain posted in June.
- Six of ten major industry sectors registered year-over-year job increases in July, with the construction, mining and natural resources sector posting the largest percentage gain, up 13.6 percent. Among the three of ten major industry sectors posting employment declines, the 1.9 percent drop in the leisure & hospitality sector ranked as the largest decrease.
- Existing home sales in metro Milwaukee grew at a 16.9 percent pace in July (vs. July, 2012). July’s gain marks the strongest gain posted through the year’s first seven months.
- The number of unemployed fell 3.1 percent in July from year-ago levels, this indicator’s third consecutive month of year-over-year decline. A decrease was also posted in new unemployment compensation claims filed – down 9.6 percent in July (vs. July, 2012), to 7,478.
- The unemployment rate for the metro area fell 0.3 percentage points from one year ago. Milwaukee’s seasonally unadjusted rate of 7.6 percent in July ranks below the 7.7 percent rate registered nationally but above the 6.8 percent rate recorded for the State of Wisconsin.
- Nonfarm employment in the metro Milwaukee area averaged 831,600 in July, a 1 percent increase from one year ago.
- Both local housing and real estate indicators tracked by the MMAC posted solid July gains. Metro area existing home sales rose 16.9 percent in July to 1,627, the year-to-date’s strongest year-over-year percentage increase. Mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County numbered 3,060 in July, a 9.3 percent gain, following the 10.9 percent increase posted in June.
- New-car registrations in the metro area rose 18.7 percent in July (to 3,147), rebounding from the 3.2 percent decline recorded in June – the year-to-date’s only decline.
- The value of signed construction contracts, as reported by F.W. Dodge for June, was $127.3 million, up 55.3 percent from June, 2012.