Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kane County Economic Update

Kane County’s nonfarm employment exploded at year-end completing a two-and-a-half-year spate of job growth. While more than half of the expansion occurred in one industry (leisure/hospitality services), most other industries joined in the job-growth party. Not surprisingly, the county’s unemployment rate continued to edge downward hitting the lowest level since the recession began. First-time claims for unemployment insurance held in their characteristic seasonal pattern also pointing towards a healthy economy. In addition, gross taxable sales showed a robust increase. Only lower construction permitting seemed to cast a pall over Kane County’s economic landscape.

• Nonfarm jobs grew by 230 positions between December 2014 and December 2015 generating a year-to-year increase of 8.1 percent.

• Tourism-driven leisure/hospitality services accounted for more than half of the new positions.

• Other industries with notable expansion included construction, manufacturing, financial activities and government.

• The only job loss of note occurred in the healthcare/social services industry.

• Kane County’s March 2016 unemployment rate measured 4.0 percent, down half a percentage point from March 2015.

• While the county’s jobless rate is somewhat higher than the statewide figure of 3.5 percent, it registers well within the range generally considered to represent a “full-employment” economy.

• First-time claims for unemployment insurance tracked the typical seasonal pattern in the first few months of 2016, showing no sign of cyclical distress.

• The seasonal leisure/hospitality services industry has generated the highest number of new claims so far in 2016.

• The county’s average monthly nonfarm wage continued to improve increasing by almost 4 percent between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015.

• Data suggests that construction permitting fell roughly 30 percent when 2014 and 2015 figures are compared.

• Both new residential and nonresidential permits values are down from the previous year.

• Between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015, Kane County’s gross taxable sales jumped by 13 percent.

• Increases in accommodations sales accounted for much of the gain with declines in food, clothing and general merchandise store sales offsetting some of the accommodations increase.