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Wednesday 18 October 2017
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Erie Leading Index Shows Resilience, But Employment Growth Lethargic

ERIE – Researchers at the Economic Research Institute of Erie (ERIE) recently released the latest issue of the ERIE Leading Index (ELI), indicating that ELI has risen for the fourth consecutive quarter at a modest 0.7 percent. The issue covers data through the first quarter of 2017, as well as some of the latest statistics released in June.

“This is good news because a change in ELI’s direction of movement can signal a downturn in the local economy,” ERIE researchers stated. “As you will see in our latest quarterly report, while ELI is showing resilience by standing firm, Erie’s labor market remains rather weak and local job growth continues to be a major challenge.”

The total number of nonfarm jobs currently stands at 128,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis, a slight decline of 0.1 percent (100 jobs) compared to a year ago. According the report, there has been job growth in a few sectors of the local economy: Since March, employment has expanded by 14.2 percent (1,900 jobs) in the leisure and hospitality sector, and by 13.9 percent (500 jobs) in the mining, logging and construction sector. Although these two sectors are affected by seasonal factors, the number of jobs in leisure and hospitality has increased by 1.3 percent (200 jobs) year-over-year in May.

However, these job gains were not enough to prevent Erie’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate from rising to 6.1 percent in May, up from 6 percent in April. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May continued to be lower in Pennsylvania (5 percent) and in the nation as a whole (4.3 percent).

Five of the eight components that make up ELI increased this quarter. As in previous quarters, since many of these components capture national economic trends, the improvement in ELI also reflects the positive spillover effects from the continued growth of the U.S. economy.

For the full report, click here.