Most Milwaukee area economic indicators declined in August

Down from July when most posted year-over-year gains

Economic growth in the metro Milwaukee area slowed in August as only 9 of the 23 indicators tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce posted year-over-year gains during the month.

That’s down from July when 12 of those economic indicators posted year-over-year gains.

“Metro Milwaukee’s economic trend continues on a sluggish path,” said MMAC research director Bret Mayborne. “Job gains across major industry sectors were increasingly uneven and manufacturing and production indicators posted continuing year-over-year declines.”

The metro area’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month was 3.8%, up from 3.4% a year ago. The number of unemployed people in the area in August was up 12.5% from a year ago. Total employment improved slightly (less than 0.1%).

The best sectors in the area for job growth in August were leisure & hospitality (up 4.1% year-over-year), education & health services (up 3.9%) and construction, mining & natural resources (up 1.1%).

The biggest declines for area employment were in government (down 3.0%), financial activities (down 1.7%), professional & business services (down 1.2%) and manufacturing (down 0.8%).

The average number of weekly hours, weekly earnings and hourly earnings for area manufacturing employees all declined in July.

New car registrations in the area were down 18.9%.

Passenger traffic at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport was down 2.2%.

However, the area’s housing market posted gains in August with a 6.6% increase in home sales and a 9.5% increase in Milwaukee County mortgages.

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew Weiland 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, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.