Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beaver County Economic Update

Beaver County’s recent economic indicators are dominated by layoffs in mining. The notable decline in the county’s nonfarm job totals can be traced primarily to mining contraction. In addition, these layoffs have driven up the area’s unemployment rate by roughly 2 percentage points. Claims for unemployment insurance have returned to more customary levels. In addition, construction permitting is off dramatically from last year. The brightest spot in this otherwise gray portrayal was a healthy increase in gross taxable sales.

  • Beaver County’s nonfarm employment dropped by roughly 140 jobs between June 2015 and June 2016, representing a year-to-year decrease of almost 6 percent. 
  • Layoffs in mining constituted the majority of lost employment. Leisure/hospitality services, construction and retail trade all added notable numbers of new jobs, but the gains did not prove sufficient to counteract mining’s declines. 
  • Most other major industries each shed a few jobs. 
  • Beaver County's unemployment rate shot up to 5.7 percent in August 2016 reflecting the significant layoffs in mining. 
  • The jobless rate is up nearly 2 percentage points from last year. 
  • Mining layoffs also drove up first-time claims for unemployment insurance in May and June, but claims have returned to a more normal level in the autumn months. 
  • Mining and construction have accounted for the vast majority of unemployment claims so far this year. 
  • Beaver County’s average monthly wage continued to slowly increase with a healthy 4-percent gain between second quarter 2015 and second quarter 2016. 
  • Construction permitting for the first eight months of 2016 pales in comparison with 2015 because of the large utility projects authorized in that year. 
  • However, residential building seems to have slowed dramatically as well. 
  • Beaver County’s second quarter 2016 gross taxable sales showed a healthy 3-percent year-over increase. 
  • Sales in retail trade, in particular at building/garden stores, contributed much of the expansion. 
  • Even a significant dip in manufacturing investment expenditures couldn’t offset the strong retail gain.