Moody’s Analytics reports that 202 of the 384 U.S. metro areas were in recovery in January. Ironically, the regions leading the recovery are the Midwest and Northeast, which (a) were particularly hard-hit by the auto industry meltdown and financial crisis (respectively) and (b) had been growing more slowly than the West and Southeast for several decades. The key reason is that the housing collapse was bigger in fast-growing states like Florida, Nevada, Arizona and parts of California. Also, vehicle sales have been surging, which has boosted the fortunes of manufacturing towns in the Midwest. Year-over-year employment soared 9.0 percent in Sandusky, Ohio and 7.1 percent in Kokomo, Ind., the fastest growth of any metro area in the U.S. Elizabethtown, Ky. and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. also were in the top 10 as were the oil industry centers of Midland and Odessa, Texas. On an absolute basis, Dallas-Fort Worth led all other metros, creating 63,600 jobs over the past 12 months.
More good news: fourth-quarter gross domestic product was revised upward from 2.8 to 3.1 percent, annualized. Personal consumption expenditures, which account for 70 percent of GDP, grew a robust 4.0 percent, the strongest performance since 2006-Q4. The personal saving rate, a healthy 5.8 percent in January according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, suggests that consumers have struck a balance between spending and saving.
Have a great weekend.
*Compliments of Bob Bach