Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kane County Economic Update

Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist

In recent years, Kane County’s labor market has shied away from a solid trend. For the most part, the county has added jobs, but in a sporadic and lackluster pattern (a common occurrence for smaller counties). However, the erratic gains have added up. By year end, Kane County will have almost regained its pre-recession employment losses. That’s no small feat.

Monthly third quarter jobs figures held up to their irregular reputation, ranging from a 6.1 percent year-to-year gain in July to a 1.3 percent increase in September. However, overall third quarter 2013 nonfarm employment increased by almost 4 percent representing a gain of more than 120 jobs.

During the third quarter, most industries eked out some employment improvements. However, leisure and hospitality services and government produced the most new jobs. Goods-producing industries limped along shedding jobs throughout the entire quarter.

In December 2013, Kane County’s unemployment rate estimate registered 5.1 percent. That’s down by almost half since its recessionary peak. As in most rural counties, Kane County’s jobless rate measures higher than the statewide average (4.1 percent).

Gross taxable sales also improved, growing almost 3 percent between the third quarters of 2012 and 2013. Although this indicator isn’t always positive, it has certainly shown the most consistent improvement since the end of the recession.

While Kane County’s economy isn’t booming, it is certainly in recovery mode. The current quarter’s rate of employment expansion provides the best economic news of the post-recession years.