Milwaukee area economy had sluggish start in January

Freeman Staff

March 21, 2019

MILWAUKEE — The monthly report from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce showed that the area’s economy had a slow start in January with 11 of the 23 economic indicators moving in a positive direction.

That was an improvement, however, over December, which had nine positive indicators.

“Indicators of the metro area economy start 2019 sluggishly with less than a majority of indicators tracked registering year-over-year gains,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director, in a statement. “Despite the slow start overall, continuing and broad-based employment growth mark the highlights of January’s gains.”

Some of the report’s highlights included that nonfarm employment in the metro area rose at a 0.9 percent pace in January when compared to January 2018 and job totals rebounded from the small year-over-year job decline registered in December.

In addition, eight of 10 major industry sectors posted year-over-year job gains in January with the other services sector registering the largest such gain, up 3.9 percent. Among the two major industry decliners, the steepest job decrease was posted in the professional and business services sector, down 3.4 percent, according to the MMAC.

Indicators for the manufacturing industry for January were mixed. While employment rose 1 percent compared to January 2018, both earnings indicators for production workers posted year-over-year declines.

For local unemployment indicators, new unemployment compensation claims fell at a 1.4 percent compared to one year ago; however, the number of unemployed rose 2.2 percent in January, to 27,700.

Metro Milwaukee’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate ticked upward in January, up 0.1 percentage points from one year ago. But, metro Milwaukee’s 3.4 percent rate ranks below both Wisconsin’s 3.5 percent and the nation’s 4.4 percent rate.