Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Wayne County Economic Update

As is often the case for less-populated counties, what goes up rapidly can just as rapidly come down. Wayne County’s skyrocketing nonfarm job growth rate (16 percent in January) has evaporated in just six months. Whether the county can revive its employment expansion before year end is yet to be seen. Despite a tumbling job growth rate, joblessness has returned to its recent slowly declining ways. Although the unemployment rate remains high, first-time claims activity remains low. Wayne County’s mixed bag of indicators is rounded out by strong performance in both construction-permitting and sales.

  • In total, between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016, Wayne County’s nonfarm jobs increased by almost 5 percent. 
  • Unfortunately, by quarter-end, the county was experiencing slight year-over employment contraction. 
  • On an industry level, retail trade’s job gains were canceled out by leisure/hospitality services’ job losses. 
  • Other industries showed minor changes in employment totals. 
  • After a brief lull, Wayne County's jobless rate continued on its slow three-year decline and is down nearly a full percentage point from last year. 
  • The county’s August 2016 unemployment rate of 7.9 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 nonfarm wage took a breather from its recent expansion. 
  • Between the second quarters of 2015 and 2016, the average wage was virtually unchanged. 
  • Wayne County’s notable increase in permitted construction values is being driven by several nonresidential projects. 
  • New home building is down slightly from last year. 
  • Gross taxable sales were up almost 5 percent when the second quarters of 2015 and 2016 are compared marking four straight quarters of sales gains. 
  • Retail trade and accommodations accounted for much of the second quarter improvement.