MILWAUKEE – January indicators suggest a slowing trend among Milwaukee area business activity indicators, according to a monthly report by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC.) For January, 11 of 22 available economic indicators registered positive vs. year-ago levels, the smallest number of positives posted in ten months.
“In March, annual job revisions were reported for 2021 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In aggregate these revisions led to a higher 2021 annual growth rate than originally reported (1.3% vs. 1%) but slower gains in 2021 final two months,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director. “Continuing this trend, 2022 starts with modest year-over-year employment growth and uneven growth among major industry sectors.”
Highlights of the data include:
∙ Nonfarm jobs in the metro area averaged 816,700 in January, a 0.8% increase from one year ago. January’s gain is down from the 1.2% year-over-year increase registered in December.
∙ Job gains were uneven with six of 10 major industry sectors recording year-over-year declines. The education & health services sector posted the largest percentage job decline, down 3.6%, followed by a 3% decrease in financial activities.
∙ Among major sectors with job gains, manufacturing posted the strongest gain, up 3.5% from one year ago. This represents manufacturing’s tenth consecutive month of year over-year increase and the strongest gain in this period.
∙ January’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 3.4% ranks 1.6 percentage points lower than the 5% rate recorded one year ago. Wisconsin’s January rate ranked lower at 3.2% while the U.S. rate at 4.4% ranked higher.
∙ Despite manufacturing’s strong job gain, other manufacturing related indicators were mixed in January. The length of the average workweek for production workers dropped 8.6% vs. one year ago to 38.1 hours while average weekly earnings for such workers fell 5.4%. Average hourly earnings rose 3.6%, to $24.64 but failed to reach the level of national consumer price inflation – up 7.5% – over the same time period.
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MMAC Monthly Economic Trends – Page 2
∙ Both local housing and real estate indicators pointed downward in January. Metro area existing homes sold fell 0.6% vs. one year ago to 968 while mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County decreased 19.2%, to 2,776.
∙ Air passenger numbers at Mitchell International Airport continued its strong recovery. January passenger totals rose 111.6% in January, this indicator’s eleventh consecutive month of year-over-year gain. Conversely, new car registrations fell for the seventh consecutive month – down 26.1% from one year ago – as supply chain issues continue.