WAUKESHA — Only 10 of the 23
economic indicators used by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association
of Commerce in March showed improvement compared to year-ago levels.
MMAC reported March’s aggregate is down from February’s 12 positive
“March marks the second time in four months that less than half of
the indicators tracked were upward pointing,” said Bret Mayborne,
the MMAC’s economic research director, in a statement. “This follows
a period of 82 consecutive months in which a majority of local
indicators pointed upward.”
Nonfarm employment growth was small in March, according to the
report, with a net addition of 1,000 jobs on a year-over-year basis.
The 0.1% gain in March was less than the 0.6% increase registered in
February (over February 2018).
Of the major industry sectors, five of 10 posted year-over-year
gains, while two were unchanged and three saw employment declines in
the 12-month period.
Both local housing and real estate indicators tracked by the MMAC
registered similar March declines. Existing home sales in the metro
area fell 14.9% versus year-ago levels while mortgages recorded in
Milwaukee County decreased 14.8% over the same time period.
“Milwaukee’s tight labor market may be contributing to slower
overall job growth. The metro area’s seasonally unadjusted jobless
rate fell to 3.2% in March, down 0.3% percentage points from its
year-ago levels. March’s local unemployment rate ranks below both
the state’s 3.3% and the nation’s 3.9% rates,” reads the report.
“Other unemployment indicators were mixed. While the number of
unemployed fell 8.6% (vs. March 2018), to 26,500, the number of new
unemployment compensation claims rose 4.6%,to 2,871, following
February’s 13.4% increase — the first backto- back increases in this
indicator in almost six years (since June 2013).”