Thursday, October 22, 2015

Beaver County Economic Update

Recently released data indicate that Beaver County has just turned in another strong economic performance. Construction-related employment losses have now filtered through the counts and underlying job growth appears robust. Unemployment rates have edged up in recent months but remain relatively low and first-time claims for unemployment virtually evaporated as autumn took hold. Construction permitting has spiked due to several large solar projects, but residential building also showed improvement. Gross taxable sales rounded out this bright picture with strong gains resulting primarily from business investment expenditures. All in all, there’s little to complain about in Beaver County’s economic indicators.

  • Between June 2014 and June 2015, Beaver County employment plumped up by 133 jobs for a vigorous gain of almost 6 percent.
  • Mining added the largest number of new jobs, but professional/scientific/technical services and the public sector posted strong additions as well.
  • All major sectors added employment over the 12-month time period.
  • Expect construction employment to swell once more when the new projects begin.
  • In the past 12 months, unemployment slipped and then edged up slightly.
  • However, joblessness remained relatively low at 3.9 percent in September 2015.
  •  The county’s unemployment rate stayed within the “full employment” range and measures far below the national average of 5.1 percent.
  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance almost vanished as the fall season progressed.
  • Construction, leisure/hospitality services and retail trade generated the highest number of claims so far this year. All have seasonal components.
  • Excluding the bumps created by large construction projects, Beaver County’s average nonfarm wage has slowly trended upward.
  • Solar project building permits dominated the construction data skyline so far in 2015.
  •  Between the first seven months of 2014 and the same time frame in 2015, the value of total construction permitting in Beaver County skyrocketed by more than 2,500 percent.
  • Residential permitting also appears on the mend. The number of permits issued so far this year is up 160 percent over last year.
  • Gross taxable sales generated another double-digit gain in the second quarter of 2015.
  • Between the second quarters of 2014 and 2015 sales rose more than 20 percent.
  • Manufacturing business investment expenditures again accounted for a notable portion of the gain. However, strong gains in retail trade took top honors for improvement.