In December, the State economy ended the year strong despite some concerns. The State Index grew sixteen months in a row on a monthly year-over-year basis. The economic growth accelerated for the second month in a row after falling seven straight months. Particularly encouraging is the labor market; the year-over-year growth of the number of employed residents grew at an increasingly faster pace for the fourth month in a row, while estimated wages and salaries exhibited a similar pattern. The leisure and tourism industry contributed to the strong finish as well; estimated rooms and meals revenues expanded for the 13th straight month on a monthly year-over-year basis. However, all is not good for the state economy. The manufacturing continued to drag; industrial electricity sales fell three consecutive months on a monthly year-over-year basis. In addition, the housing sector remains a threat. Despite rebounding sales, free-falling home prices have yet to show any signs of a turnaround. All in all, chances of a double-dip recession that was increasingly likely a few months ago seemed to be waning with 2011.
The real estate market analysis can be found at the end of this report.
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.
The Coös County economy continues to fall with no clear end in sight, while the State economy shows signs of stabilization.