- Between September 2013 and September 2014, Washington County added more than 3,000 net new jobs for a robust year-to-year growth rate of 5.8 percent.
- Employment expansion continued across a wide spectrum of industries, another indication of a strong economy.
- The public sector, leisure/hospitality services and construction all added at least 500 new positions. In addition, both retail trade and transportation contributed more than 400 jobs each.
- Manufacturing showed a hefty 200-job, 8-percent gain between September 2013 and September 2014. While the Blue Bunny plant closure is not reflected in the September numbers, neither is the re-opening of the Viracon plant. Overall, manufacturing employment should continue to increase.
- Healthcare and social services showed slower-than-average gains in the third quarter of 2014. However, healthcare hiring remains strong. Losses in residential care (which includes teen treatment centers) lies at the heart of the current slowdown.
- The only major industry employment loss of note is not really a decline at all. The seeming drop in wholesale trade jobs resulted from a location coding correction rather than the actual loss of positions.
- Washington County’s December 2014 unemployment rate edged down another notch to 3.9 percent.
- Lower numbers of jobless workers coupled with continued moderate job growth should mean the forces of supply and demand will put upward pressure on wages.
- In the first few weeks of 2015, first-time claims for unemployment insurance per at the low levels of the past several years primarily reflecting seasonal layoffs.
- In the third quarter of 2014, gross taxable sales increased by a year-over rate of 7.2 percent providing one more strong quarter in a long line of sales improvements.
- Washington County’s new car and truck sales jumped a whopping 25 percent between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014.
- Authorized permits for new homes did drop 20 percent between 2013 and 2014. However, the number of permits remains moderate and reflective of a market that is not overheated.
- Home sales were also down slightly in the third quarter of 2014, but in general are trending upward.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Washington County Economic Update
Washington County turned in another strong economic performance according to recently-released employment figures. Job expansion has bounced around Washington County’s long-term average of 5 percent for the past three years. During the third quarter of 2014, the county’s year-over employment growth continued in this “just right” zone. In addition, Joblessness continues to edge ever downward and seems to be entering the full-employment range, so expect an uptick in wages in 2015. Rounding out this bright economic picture, gross taxable sales and new car sales showed healthy expansion.