The December 2012 edition of the St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard has been released by the Center for Economic Research (CER) at UW-River Falls and St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). The dashboard is a snapshot of the economic condition of the labor, consumer and housing markets in the seven county St. Croix Valley, which includes the Wisconsin counties of Polk, St. Croix, Pierce, and Dunn and the Minnesota counties of Chisago, Ramsey and Washington. It presents the latest available data in one convenient package (note: most regional data is available with a one or two month delay).
The Dashboard can be viewed on the CER’s website at www.uwrf.edu/cer.
Dr. Logan Kelly, director of the CER, conducts research for the Dashboard and offered his observations:
"Readers may have noticed that the CER website has undergone some significant renovation. Some of the key features are new data tables and plots, links to download the data behind every table and links to embed the tables and plots on your own website. The website has also been reorganized to make navigation easier. The redesign of the CER site is just the beginning of a series of improvements, so keep checking back for new features."
Be sure to take a look at the Regional Economic Database available at http://www.uwrf.edu/CenterForEconomicResearch/RegionalData.cfm. The database has been reorganized by geographic region so you can easily download data on a particular topic for an entire region."
The U.S. Economy
Output: "The United States’ economy grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter). Real GDP increased by 2.4 percent since one year previous. The increase in real GDP primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and private inventory investment (note: Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) refers to the market value of all final good purchased by consumers. Private Inventory Investment refers to business spending on goods intended for sale, as well as the purchase of new housing). The Philadelphia Fed Leading Economic Activity Index is forecasting that the national economy will grow at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.5 over the next six months."
Labor Market: "Total nonfarm employment rose by 146,000 in November and the unemployment rate decreased to 7.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Key sectors of increased employment where retail trade, professional and business services, and health care. For more information about the national labor market see BLS Employment Situation Report (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).
Wisconsin and Minnesota
According to the latest Establishments Survey data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Wisconsin and Minnesota economies both lost jobs on net in October 2012. Wisconsin lost 7,500 jobs and Minnesota lost 8,100 jobs. Over the previous 12 months, Wisconsin has lost 10,500 jobs and Minnesota has gained 34,000 jobs. Both states unemployment rates fell in the month of October, to 6.9 percent in Wisconsin and 5.8 percent in Minnesota. Both are below the national average of 7.7 percent."
"In October, Wisconsin saw job creation in construction (up 700 jobs), manufacturing (up 500 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (up 900 jobs). Wisconsin lost jobs in all other categories with the private sector losing 6,000 jobs and government losing 1,500 jobs. Minnesota gained in mining (up 200 jobs), construction (up 1,200 jobs), transportation (up 400 jobs) and information (up 800 jobs). Other sectors declined or stayed constant. Minnesota lost 5,600 private sector jobs and 2,500 government jobs."
The St. Croix Valley
Labor Market: The October unemployment rate in the St. Croix Valley, at 5.3 percent, remains below both the Wisconsin and Minnesota averages and is 0.27 percentage points below one year previous. Total employment (Households Survey) continued the upward trend it began in January adding 3,262 jobs since October 2011. The labor force has also grown modestly, indicating that the St. Croix Valley is continuing to experience slow but steady recovery in the job market."
Housing Market: "The housing market in the St. Croix Valley is showing signs of stabilization. The latest release of the Case-Shiller Home Price index indicates that, in September 2012, home prices had risen in the Minneapolis MSA by 3.3 percent since one year previous. Moreover, both median home price and number of homes sold increased in November as compared to one year previous."
The Wisconsin/Minnesota St. Croix Valley is comprised of St. Croix, Polk, Pierce and Dunn counties in Wisconsin and Chisago, Ramsey and Washington counties in Minnesota. All seven counties are located at or near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. Five of the seven counties (St. Croix, Pierce, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington) are included in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metropolitan area, a 13-county region with of population of 3.3 million residents.