New Revenue and Jobs Numbers Reflect Modest Growth
Several sets of data released late this week provide positive news on economic growth, but not the sort of vigorous growth that all of us would prefer to see. This afternoon the Dept. of Revenue issued a report on tax collections in the first three months of the current fiscal year, and yesterday the Dept. of Workforce Development issued the September data from two surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), known as the Current Employment Statistics and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics.
Tax collections were up 2.1% in the July through September period, compared to the same quarter of the previous fiscal year (after adjusting for a difference in the timing of the September income tax withholding). Although that isn’t exactly a robust start to the new fiscal year, it amounts to a $55 million increase compared to the same period in 2011, and tax revenue only needs to grow by a total of $160 million (1.2%) during the full fiscal year to reach the projection made in May 2012. (See our Sept. 5 blog post.)
The new BLS figures are also positive, if not inspiring:
Preliminary figures on total employment in September (seasonally adjusted) were up by 1,400 according to the place of work survey, and by 4,400 according to the place of residence survey.
The much better news is that the September growth is from an August base that was just revised upwards by 3,200 jobs – which brings the total increase in August to 7,500 private sector jobs and almost 11,000 total jobs.
The estimated number of unemployed workers dropped by 5,500, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% (after a brief jump to 7.5% in August).
You can read more about the employment numbers in John Schmid’s article in the Journal Sentinel.