Metro Milwaukee’s economy rebounds slightly in July

September 7, 2019

WAUKESHA — The economy in metro Milwaukee rebounded slightly in July, according to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which reported that 12 of the 22 available economic indicators improved compared to a year ago.

“July’s aggregate performance comes after less than half of the indicators tracked by the MMAC pointed upward in three of the previous four months,” said Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the MMAC, in a statement.

“The overall trend in jobs has improved through 2019’s first seven months with year-over-year gains reaching its strongest pace in the year to date,” Mayborne said.

Highlights of the report include:

Non-farm employment averaged 885,400 in July, a 1.1% increase compared to year-ago levels. July’s gain follows the 0.9% gain posted in June (vs. June 2018) and ranks higher than the 0.7% average increase posted over 2019’s first seven months.

July employment gains were posted in six of 10 major industry sectors. The leisure and hospitality sector registered the strongest year-over-year increase (up 4.9%) while the information sector (down 2.2%) recorded the sharpest decline.

For the second time in three months, both housing and real estate indicators tracked by the MMAC pointed upward. Existing home sales (up 4.6%) and mortgages recorded in Milwaukee County (up 16.2%) rose versus year-ago levels.

Local unemployment indicators posted mixed results. New unemployment compensation claims fell 6.7% vs. year-ago levels, but the number of unemployed rose 5.9% to 32,100. The higher number of unemployed contributed to a 0.2 percentage point rise in metro Milwaukee’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate. The 3.6% rate posted one year ago to the current 3.8%. July’s local unemployment rate ranks higher than the state's 3.4% rate but below the nation’s 4.0% figure.