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 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, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.