Friday, August 19, 2011

August Momentum West Dashboard Released

The UW- River Falls Center for Economic Research (CER) in partnership with Momentum West has released the July edition of the Momentum West Economic Dashboard. The dashboard is a snapshot of the economic condition of the labor, consumer and housing markets in the 10 county Momentum West Economic Development Region. It presents the latest available data* in one convenient package and can be viewed on the CER's website at

The dashboard includes two new indicators this month: the Philadelphia Fed’s Leading and Coincident Indices of economic activity. The Coincident Index of economic activity provides an estimate of Wisconsin’s economic growth rate expressed as a seasonally adjusted annual rate, and the Leading Index of economic activity forecasts economic growth for Wisconsin over the next six months. These two indices provide information about the over all health of the state economy and give an indication of future economic performance. Both the Leading and Coincident Indices indicate that the state economy is growing annually by about 3.0 percent.

The Labor Market

The state unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.6 percent in June '11, which is 0.7 percentage points lower than June '10. Conditions in the regional labor market are are similar to the state average. The regional unemployment rate decreased in June '11 by 0.12 percentage points to 7.5 percent. This change was driven by a 0.3 year over year percentage decrease in total employment and a 0.5 year over year percentage decrease in the labor force. The region's unemployment rate is comparable to the state average of 7.6 percent and higher than the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rate of 6.9 percent.

The Wisconsin economy created 9,500 jobs on net in June, but lost jobs in several key areas. Particularly, the public sector has lost an additional 3,400 jobs marking the third straight month of declines and a total loss of 4,700 jobs since June 2011. One the other hand, the largest increase came from the leisure and hospitality sector where 6,200 jobs were created. Leisure and hospitality sector tends to be composed of lower paid jobs then then the public sector, which highlights the importance of looking beyond the net jobs created when evaluating economic growth.

The Housing Market

The region saw a monthly decrease in median home price, but nether median home price nor the number of homes sold are seasonally adjusted, thus year over year change is a better measure. Median home price in the region declined for all but two counties, St. Croix and Dunn. However, home prices in the region were up from one year ago. The median home price for the ten county region in July '11 was approximately $162,848 which is 5.5 percent above July '10, and the Case-Shiller Home Price index for Minneapolis and Chicago did show monthly increases in May '11. The number of homes sold in the region increased year over year by 27.4 percent to 521.

For additional information on the August edition of the Momentum West Economic Dashboard, contact Dr. Logan Kelly at or (715) 425-4993 or Noel Eggebraaten at or (715) 874-4673.
*Please note that most regional data is available with between a one and two month delay, thus the current month's dashboard will have data from previous months.

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