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MMAC’s economic gauges show slow growth

If the economic recovery has begun, it is moving slowly through the local economy, as only four of the 19 available Milwaukee-area business activity indicators pointed upward in July, according to the latest monthly report by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).

July’s four positive indicators match the number of improvements posted in June.

"At this point, any move toward economic recovery certainly lacks in breadth, with only

four indicators registering improvement," said Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the MMAC. "Yet declines in a number of indicators have started to slow, giving cause to suggest that future economic improvement may be on the horizon."

Among the findings of the report:

Employment in the metro area averaged 810,000 in July, a 5.2% decline from one year ago.

Two of 10 major industry sectors registered July job gains (vs. one year ago), while eight registered declines. The government sector’s 3.9 increase ranked as the largest percentage gain. Conversely, jobs in the manufacturing sector fell 11.3 percent from one year ago, the month’s largest decline.

July existing home sales in the metro area increased 12.4 percent over year-ago levels, its fourth consecutive year-over-year rise, and mortgages registered in Milwaukee County rose 17.7 percent.

New-car registrations for the metro area numbered 2,740 in July, a 19.9-percent decline. Air passenger usage of Mitchell International Airport fell 3.7 percent in July to 791,621 passengers, following the double-digit declines posted in each of the previous six months.

The value of signed construction contracts, as reported by F.W. Dodge for June, was $99.9 million, down 52.9 percent from June, 2008.


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