St. Croix EDC: September 2012 Economic Dashboard released

Contact: Bill Rubin/Jacki Bradham, St. Croix EDC, 715-381-4383

The September 2012 edition of the St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard has been released by the Center for Economic Research (CER) at UW-River Falls and St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). The dashboard is a snapshot of the economic condition of the labor, consumer and housing markets in the seven county St. Croix Valley, which includes the Wisconsin counties of Polk, St. Croix, Pierce, and Dunn and the Minnesota counties of Chisago, Ramsey and Washington. It presents the latest available data in one convenient package (note: most regional data is available with a one or two month delay).

The Dashboard can be viewed on the CER’s website at

Dr. Logan Kelly, director of the CER, conducts research for the Dashboard and offered his observations:

State and National Indicators

“The U.S. seasonally adjusted annually growth rate for the second quarter of 2012 was revised to 1.7 percent, which is 0.75 percentage points lower than one year previous. The national unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in August, down one percent from a year ago.”

“In Wisconsin, nonfarm payroll employment increased in July, by 0.7 percent, from a year ago. The unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points from a year ago to 7.3 percent, but has increased 0.3 percentage points from last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of households.”

“The BLS survey of households finds that Wisconsin has gained 19,202 jobs over the last year. However, the BLS survey of employers finds that Wisconsin lost 21,900 jobs over the last year. The two surveys seem to indicate that much of improvement in the Wisconsin labor market is driven by job creation in neighboring states, not within Wisconsin.”

“Minnesota’s unemployment rate in July was 5.8 percent, which is 0.8 percentage points lower than one year previous. The BLS survey of employers finds that Minnesota has gained 56,700 jobs over the last year.”

“The Philadelphia Fed’s Coincident Index of economic activity indicated the Wisconsin economy contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.96 percent in July, and the Leading Index is predicting essentially zero growth over next the six months. The Minnesota economy contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.70 percent, but the Leading Index for Minnesota is predicting a positive annual growth rate of 1.36 percent over next the six months.”

Labor Market

“Nationally, we have seen steady, albeit slow, improvement in the labor market. The national economy has added a total of 1,808,000 jobs year-to-date.”

See National Job Creation Table

“The Wisconsin economy lost 6,500 jobs net from June to July and has lost 21,900 jobs since July 2011. The Minnesota economy gained 6,800 jobs net from June to July and has gained 56,700 jobs since July 2011.”

See Wisconsin and Minnesota Job Creation Table

“In July, Wisconsin lost jobs in all major sectors but three, ‘Other Services’, ‘Information’ and ‘Manufacturing’. The most significant job losses came in the ‘Leisure and Hospitality’ sector (5,300 jobs lost) and ‘Education and Health Services’ (2,000 jobs lost). Minnesota fared much better with increases in six major sectors and significant decreases in only two sectors.”

See Wisconsin and Minnesota Job Creation by Sector Table

“Conditions in the regional labor market are faring better than the Wisconsin state average. The regional unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2 percent in July and it remains lower than the Wisconsin’s state average of 7.2 percent, but is slightly above the Minnesota average of 5.8 percent. The data suggests that the St. Croix Valley’s relative economic strength is due to its proximity to the Twin Cities.”

The Wisconsin/Minnesota St. Croix Valley is comprised of St. Croix, Polk, Pierce and Dunn counties in Wisconsin and Chisago, Ramsey and Washington counties in Minnesota. All seven counties are located at or near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Five of the seven counties (St. Croix, Pierce, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington) are included in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metropolitan area, a 13-county region with of population of 3.3 million residents.

For additional information on the September edition of the St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard, contact Dr. Logan Kelly at [email protected] or (715) 425-4993 or William Rubin at [email protected] or (715) 381-4383.