MILWAUKEE — The economy in
the metro Milwaukee area remains sluggish, according to the
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which said only 9 of
23 economic indicators pointed upward in August.
August was the sixth time in the past nine months that positive
trending indicators accounted for less than half of the total.
“August’s trend can largely be attributed to two main patterns,”
said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s economic research director. “Job
gains across major industry sectors were increasingly uneven and
manufacturing and production indicators posted continuing
Highlights of the report include:
■ Nonfarm employment grew at its second slowest pace this year.
Employment rose 0.5% in August (vs. year-ago levels), down from the
1% year-over-year increase posted in July and the 0.7% average gain
in employment year-to-date.
■ Only four of 10 major industry sectors registered year-over-year
job gains in August. The leisure & hospitality sector posted the
largest increase – up 4.1% vs. year-ago levels. Conversely, six of
10 major industry sectors posted employment declines. A 3% decrease
in the government sector ranked as the largest percentage loss.
■ Metro area manufacturing indicators posted declines vs. year-ago
levels. Manufacturing employment fell for the first time in 20
months and production and earnings indicators for manufacturing
production workers all posted year-over-year declines.
Another noted element of the MMAC report was that the number of
unemployed in the metro area rose 12.5% in August, compared to
August 2018, for a total of 31,600.