Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wayne County Economic Update

After a brief fling with job growth in late 2012, Wayne County found itself in job loss territory as 2013 progressed. Recently-released data for second quarter 2013 show the area still losing employment ground. The losses proved relatively small overall. Nevertheless, a clean bill of economic health demands job growth. Moreover, unemployment rate remain high and actually edged up in recent months as the area continues to come to terms with the loss of its largest employer. Yet, some economic gauges provide the promise of improvement in the labor market. Total construction permitting is up as are gross taxable sales. For additional details and graphic visualizations, click "read more."

  • Wayne County’s nonfarm employment declined by 10 positions in the twelve months following June 2012. The accompanying disappointing rate of employment contraction (just under 1 percent) is just the latest in a spate of poor employment figures.
  • The public sector can take most of the blame for the current contraction although construction and manufacturing also lost noticeable numbers of positions.
  • On the positive side, several industries did tally gains; specifically, leisure/hospitality services, private education/health/social services and trade.
  • The county’s unemployment level remains disturbingly high even for this county where seasonal employment contributes to a higher-than-average rate.
  • In August 2013, Wayne County jobless rate measured a whopping 12.4 percent and has edged up in recent months.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance have remained relatively low for most of the year. A current spike in federal shutdown claims merely presages the seasonal increase to come.
  • Figures for the first four months of 2013 exhibit a home-building market in continued distress. Fortunately, a noteworthy increase in new nonresidential construction provided a boost to construction permitting activity.
  • Gross taxable sales remain one of the best-performing economic indicators. Between the second quarters of 2012 and 2013, sales increased by a healthy 7 percent.