Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wayne County Economic Update

Wayne County’s labor market shot up dramatically in the first few months of 2016. First quarter 2016 marks more than a year’s worth of nonfarm job growth. While the expansion rates have proved erratic, this vacillating behavior is common among small counties. Not only is the employment base expanding, but most industries sported membership in the job-creation club. Joblessness seems to have stalled at a relatively high level, not uncommon to tourism-driven economies. Although the unemployment rate remains high, first-time claims activity remains low suggesting layoffs are not playing a present-day role. Early 2016 growth in both construction and sales also points towards an improving economy.

  • Wayne County’s nonfarm employment showed expansion between March 2015 and March 2016 with almost 90 new jobs and a year-over growth rate of nearly 11 percent. 
  • Retail trade and leisure/hospitality services added the largest numbers of new employment, ranking first and second in employment creation. 
  • Government, construction and healthcare/social services also contributed to the new job totals. 
  • Industry-level job losses were virtually nonexistent. 
  • After edging down for the better part of two years, Wayne County’s jobless rate seems to have stalled. 
  • The county’s June 2016 unemployment rate of 8.4 percent reflects a seasonal, tourism-driven economy. 
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance are currently following a seasonal pattern suggesting that no unusual layoff activity has occurred so far in 2016. 
  • The leisure/hospitality services industry has generated the lion’s share of new claims so far this year. 
  • The county’s average monthly wage has slowly edged upwards in fits and starts. 
  • The first quarter 2016 wage took a breather from the ascending trend displaying virtually no change since first quarter 2015. 
  • Construction permitting was off to a rapid-fire 2016 start with the authorization of several large nonresidential projects. In the first three months of 2016, residential permitting ran slower than in the same time period in 2015. 
  • Gross taxable sales increased at a robust 12-percent rate between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016. 
  • Accommodations, food services and general merchandise stores showed the highest sales gains.