May 2011

May 31st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Rising Energy Costs May Be Slowing Recovery.

In April, the Coos economy continued to show signs of slowing recovery. Although the Index advanced twelve straight months on a monthly year-over-year basis, its growth rate has slowed two consecutive months. Slowing growth was felt on individual sectors as well. The manufacturing sector, which had been one of the few brightest spots of the Coos Economy since the Great Recession, saw its growth rate edging down steadily since November on a monthly year-over-year basis. The rebounding hospitality sector, while doing better than prior year, appeared to have reached a plateau. Average Saturday traffic counts retreated two straight months on a monthly year-over-year basis, while the growth rate of the estimated rooms and meals revenue remained flat since October. High gas prices, along with an increasingly probable double dip in the real estate market, threatened the fledgling economic recovery.

The State economy fared better. All five component indicators remained up from a year earlier. Its growth rate had inched up steadily since August. The labor market continued to improve; the number of employed residents kept climbing up at a faster clip on a monthly year-over-year basis. However, there were some preliminary signs of slowing in the manufacturing and hospitality industry. Growth in industrial electricity sales appeared to have reached a plateau since last year on a monthly year-over-year basis. Similarly, growth in average Saturday traffic counts had steadily declined since last year on a monthly year-over-year basis. High energy costs may be taking a toll on the economy. The struggling housing sector, which appeared to head for deeper troubles, is another reason for concern.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

April 2011

May 1st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Economic growth slows

In March, although continuing its long-term course to recovery, the Coos economy grew at a rate slower than it did in February. More telling may be easing growth in the manufacturing and hospitality industry, both of which had been an engine of the county’s economic recovery since the end of recession. The year-over-year growth rate of industrial electricity sales had slowed steadily since November. A similar pattern was observed in estimated rooms and meals revenues. Furthermore, the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts dipped below the level seen a year ago for the first time since September. The labor market continued to show a mixed picture. Number of employed residents was down from where it was a year ago, while estimated wages and salaries were up.

The State economy continued its course to recovery. All five component indicators remained up from a year earlier. Its growth rate had inched up steadily since August. The improving labor market led economic recovery in March. Both number of employed residents and estimated wages and salaries grew at an increasing pace. On a more cautionary note, though, there were some signs of slowing in the manufacturing and hospitality industry. Industrial electricity sales fell from prior month, although it remained up from where it was a year earlier. So did both indicators of the hospitality industry – estimated rooms and meals revenues and average Saturday vehicle traffic counts. It remains to be seen whether they were just a temporary statistical fluke or the beginning of a new slump in the industry. In addition, the struggling housing industry remains a trouble spot of the economy.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

March 2011

April 1st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Long Road to Recovery

In February, the Coos economy struggled to stay on course to recovery. Four out of five component indicators fell from prior month, January 2011, although the same number of indicators was up from prior year, February 2010. It indicates that, while the county economy remained on the long-term growth path, recovery would be long and slow. A strong recovery would require a robust rebound in the labor market. In February, number of employed residents continued to fall, while estimated wages and salary disbursements posted a year-over-year gain for the first time since the latest recession. All other sectors – manufacturing and hospitality – remained strong compared to prior year. Both indicators of the hospitality industry – estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts – kept expanding on a year-over-year basis. As a sign of a rebounding manufacturing sector, industrial electricity sales remained up from a year earlier.

There was little sign of change in the State economy’s strong rebound it’d shown since the last recession. The State Index advanced six months in a row on a year-over-year basis. More impressively, the pace of increase has been on the rise as well. All five component indicators unanimously point up to improving economic conditions. All remained up from where they were a year ago. However, uncertainties around the proposed budget cuts and large layoffs in the state and local governments could impact the recovery down the road. The struggling real estate market remains as a threat to recovery as well.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

February 2011

March 1st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Hospitality Sector Keeps Recovery Alive

In January, the Coos economy showed a glimpse of an accelerating recovery. The Coos Index advanced at the fastest pace on a year-over-year basis since the latest recession. A strong rebound in the hospitality sector continued to be an engine of economic recovery in the county’s economy. The estimated rooms and meals revenues kept expanding on a year-over-year basis. However, the rising gasoline prices could threaten the revitalizing tourism industry down the road. The average Saturday vehicle traffic counts were not reported by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, perhaps due to the ongoing budget and personnel issues. The manufacturing sector contributed to the recovery as well. The industrial electricity sales remained strong. However, the recovery had yet to show signs of gaining traction. In particular, the labor market remained weak. While both indicators of the labor market – number of employed residents and the estimated total wages and salaries – stopped falling, there were no signs of a strong and sustained rebound either.

On the contrary, State recovery appeared to be well under way. The State Index advanced five months in a row on a year-over-year basis at an increasing pace. All available component indicators remained up from where they were a year ago. A strong rebound in the labor market largely accounts for the recovery. Both the number of employed residents and the estimated total wages and salaries were up from prior year. The manufacturing sector continued its expansion as well. So did the hospitality sector. The estimated rooms and meals revenues expanded two months in a row on a year-over-year basis.

The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.

January 2011

January 31st, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Recovery Spinning Wheels in Mud

As announced in December report, the methodology page has been revised to briefly describe how the new NCEI is constructed and how well it conforms to the business cycle. In December, the County Index advanced for the seventh consecutive month on a year-over-year basis. However, the recovery still appeared to be fragile. The pace of growth remained too small to build up momentum. A major drag came from the labor market. The estimated wages and salaries continued to slide, suggesting job losses had not stopped. On the other hand, the number of employed residents appeared to have been stabilized after a slide during the recession. This diversion between the two labor market indicators may indicate that some of the unemployed may have become self-employed or domestic help, instead of looking for a job. On a positive note, the hospitality sector continued to register gains. In particular, the estimated rooms and meals revenues continued with its impressive expansion. The production activity remained strong; the industrial electricity sales series was up from prior year.

On the contrary, the impending recovery for the State’s economy looked ever more credible. The State Index advanced four months in a row on a year-over-year basis at an increasing pace. All of the Index’s component indicators turned up from where they were a year ago. The encouraging signs were apparent in the labor market. Both the number of employed residents and the estimated total wages and salaries were up from prior year. The manufacturing sector continued its expansion as well. December data brought good news to the hospitality sector as well. In addition to the average Saturday traffic counts, the estimated rooms and meals revenues turned up from prior year for the first time since the beginning of the recession.

Starting this month, we upgraded the analysis on the real estate market by adding median home prices to the list that already includes home sales. The report can be found below.

December 2010

January 3rd, 2011 by Daniel Lee

Slowly Looming Recovery

I’m glad to announce that a paper on the NCEI project was presented to an academic conference in November. Before and after the presentation, the NCEI methodology had been carefully reviewed. As a result, two major modifications were made. First, 12 month moving average was adopted for all the component indicators, except for number of employed residents. By far, the biggest challenge in the NCEI’s inaugural year was the volatility in the data, which made very difficult to interpret month-to-month changes. Analyses showed that the use of 12 month moving average dramatically reduced the volatility problem while still approximating the business cycle. In addition, it avoided errors associated with seasonal adjustment process, thus increasing the accuracy of the report. Secondly, home sales series was excluded from the construction of the NCEI index in order to improve its conformity to the business cycle. Home sales series appears to have been decoupled from the business cycle for the past two decades. However, it will still be included in the report due to the importance of the real estate market to the economy. We believe these measures will make it easier to read changes in the direction of the economy. The detailed information will be posted in the methodology page in January.

The new and improved NCEI exhibits that the Coos economy had been stagnant in much of the early 2010, but slowly advanced in the second half. In November, the County Index advanced for the fifth consecutive month on a year-over-year basis. The production activity remained strong; the industrial electricity sales series was up from prior year. The hospitality sector did better than last year as well. Both the estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts marked higher than where they were a year ago. In particular, a rebound in rooms and meals revenues was remarkable; it recuperated its pre-Great Recession level. However, the news from the labor market was mixed. The number of employed residents was up from where it was a year ago, while the estimated total wages and salaries continued to slide.

The signs of recovery were much clearer in the State’s economy. The State Index advanced three months in a row on a year-over-year basis at an increasing pace. The recovery seemed to have gained traction. The encouraging signs were apparent in the labor market. Both the number of employed residents and the estimated total wages and salaries are up from prior year. The manufacturing sector continued its expansion as well. However, the recovery wasn’t so strong in the hospitality sector. The estimated rooms and meals revenues remained stagnant.

November 2010

December 1st, 2010 by Daniel Lee

Contents

  1. Reviving hope for recovery?
  2. Coincident Index
  3. How strong are the forces of change?
  4. Household Employment
  5. Home Sales
  6. Rooms and Meals Revenues
  7. Traffic Counts
  8. Wages and Salaries
  9. Industrial Electricity Sales
    1. Month-to-Month Comparison vs. Year-over-Year ComparisonInterpreting economic indicators may not be as easy as it might seem. This is particularly true when dealing with regional indicators that tend to be highly volatile. The month-to-month changes can be very volatile and may not represent true changes in economic conditions. To reduce the volatility and better detect the underlying trend in the economy, economists often use the year-over-year percent changes. However, this year-over-year percent comparison has a problem of its own. It doesn’t tell us anything about what happened between a year ago and the current period. It misses out the most recent changes in the economy. The recent changes should be reflected in the month-to-month percent changes. The bottom line is that one should be careful in interpreting economic indicators and should examine both the month-to-month changes and the year-over-year changes to get a good sense of what is happening in the economy. In addition, one should also apply the 3 Ds principle in interpreting economic indicators. The 3 Ds are duration (how persistent the change has been), diffusion (how widespread the change is) and depth (how large the change is). Refer to “How should economic index be interpreted?” on the About page.Leading IndicatorsThis section is under construction. The future reports will include building permits, initial unemployment claims, new business formation, real estate indicators and possibly freight volumes.Technical Notes

Reviving hope for recovery?

 

The November report reflects the traffic counts series, which was revised to improve its conformity to the business cycle. In October, the Coos economy showed encouraging signs for recovery. The Coos Index was up from where it stood a year ago for the first time since April. The labor market seemed to have gained some strength; the number of employed residents expanded two months in a row on a year-over-year basis. The hospitality industry did better than a year ago, although it wasn’t nearly enough to boost the business owners’ confidence in the industry. Both the estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts marked higher than where they were a year ago. The only blemish in the news was the housing sector. Home sales remained nearly half the October 2009 level.

Likewise, the revised data revealed that the State economy remained strong. The State Index advanced for the seventh month in a row on a year-over-year basis. For the second consecutive month, it posted a 1.7% gain, the largest since the beginning of the recession. The steadily improving labor market was most impressive. The number of employed residents expanded six months in a row on a year-over-year basis at an increasing pace. However, the stumbling housing market remained as a threat to recovery. Home sales took a step backward after having recovered from hiccups after the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit.

October 2010

October 31st, 2010 by Daniel Lee

Coos and New Hampshire part ways to recovery.

In September, the Coos economy was still in the mud. The housing market showed no signs of recovery from the expiration of the home buyer tax credits. The number of homes sold remained nearly half the level seen a year ago. The production activity took a sudden plunge; the industrial electricity sales plummeted. Hoteliers in the region told that many in the industry would go out of business unless the economy turned around soon. The data coincided with the sentiment. Both the estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic counts were down from a year ago. On a positive note, though, the labor market advanced. The number of employed residents was up from the level seen a year ago for the first time since February 2008.

On the other hand, the revised data revealed that the State economy may have resumed its course to recovery. Both the labor market and the housing sector brought encouraging signs. The rate of increase in the number of employed residents on a month-to-month basis, which had steadily slowed to fall into the negative territory in July, has since bounced back and reaccelerated. The number of homes sold, although still lower than where it stood a year ago, continued to recover from the hick ups after the expiration of the federal home buyer tax credits. The manufacturing sector remained as strength of the economy, as indicated in the industrial electricity sales. The hospitality industry also did better than a year ago. The estimated rooms and meals revenues kept up on a year-over-year basis.

September 2010

October 1st, 2010 by Daniel Lee

Recovery may be slipping away.

This month’s report reflects some major revisions to the data. Models – constructed to estimate the current values of rooms and meals revenues, and wages and salaries – were revised to increase accuracy. In addition, industrial electricity sales series for Coos County has been corrected by data provider. Unfortunately, these revisions helped heighten concerns that recovery might be slipping away. The stumbling housing market remained a major obstacle for recovery. The labor market showed no signs of improvement either. However, the hospitality industry remained strong as warm weather continued to draw tourists to the region. The estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic both stayed up from where they were a year ago. The county’s production activity chugged along, as well. Industrial electricity sales remained up from where it was a year ago, but there were signs that it too had been slowing down.

The State Index fell below where it stood a year ago for the first time since March after steady declines in recent months. The stagnant labor market and the stumbling housing sector largely contributed to this fall. The hospitality sector struggled as well, despite the warm weather. The estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic both fell from the July’s level. On a more positive note, the manufacturing industry chugged along, as reflected in a continued upward trend in industrial electricity sales.

August 2010

September 1st, 2010 by Daniel Lee

Warm weather boosts economy.

In July, warm weather salvaged the economy that would otherwise have been marred by the stumbling housing sector. Home sales plunged more than 40% after the end of the home-buyer tax credit. Otherwise, it was a good month for the Coos economy. Labor market unexpectedly rebounded. Industrial electricity sales were up, suggesting a continued improvement in the county’s production activity. However, it was warm weather that provided the largest boost to the economy in the midst of heightened concerns over the fledgling recovery. The estimated rooms and meals revenues and the average Saturday vehicle traffic both advanced, pointing to increased tourist activity. However, the boost to the hospitality sector is likely to be temporary and wane as the hot summer season comes to an end.

The State economy has seen a similar boost to the hospitality sector brought by warm weather in July. In addition, manufacturing activity remained strong, as reflected in a continued upward trend in industrial electricity sales. However, recent developments in the labor and housing market portend a tough road ahead in the State’s economy. The number of employed residents fell for the first time since December. Home sales plunged after the end of the home-buyer tax credit.