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.