Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wayne County Economic Update

Wayne County job growth towards the end of 2012 seemed to suggest that the area had begun to shake off the economic trauma of the loss of the county’s largest employer. However, first quarter 2013 found the county in negative employment territory once again.

Nevertheless, the county’s other economic indicators suggest light at the end of job-loss tunnel. Here are the highlights:
  • Between March 2012 and March 2013, Wayne County showed a net loss of more than 60 nonfarm jobs—down 3.8 percent.
  • Most major sectors showed job loss. Leisure/hospitality services, manufacturing, the federal government, and mining were among the biggest losers.
  • Private education/health/social services generated the only job gains of note.
  • Although the county’s unemployment rate has declined in recent months, it still remains significantly higher than rates experienced during the height of the national recession.
  • In June 2013, the county’s jobless rate measured a sickly 12.2 percent—more than double the state average of 4.7 percent. On the other hand, the job hemorrhaging seems to have ceased.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance have settled to a pre-recession pattern. The seasonal leisure/hospitality services industry and the volatile construction industry display the largest number of new claims so far this year.
  • Approvals for home permits slowed to a near year-over-year halt during the first quarter of 2013 failing to depart from the sluggish residential market evident for numerous years.
  • On the other hand, improvements in new nonresidential permitting and residential alterations/additions/repairs pushed total values up more than 300 percent during the first three months of 2013.
  • Gross taxable sales experienced a healthy gain at the start of 2013. Between the first quarters of 2012 and 2013, sales increased by 6 percent. In the last two years, only two quarters have demonstrated year-to-year declines.