The holiday spending outlook is being supported by a post-hurricane rebound in job gains in most industries except retail—and despite persisting weak pockets across the middle and Northeast parts of the country.
An emerging recovery in the energy and mining sector is generating encouraging signs in places from Oklahoma to Montana, but weak places persist from Louisiana and West Virginia to South Dakota and Wyoming.
Construction and some manufacturing jobs are adding to strength in services to drive job growth, which remains focused in the West-Northwest, Southeast and Texas—with an improving pocket of growth in Missouri and Arkansas.
The spending outlook will continue to reflect the unevenness in these underlying job trends:
- Weak markets. Twelve states are growing at less than a 1 percent pace—with Wyoming, Kansas, Alaska, and Illinois the worst off. Notable, however, is that major local markets such as Oklahoma City-OK, and Pittsburgh-PA are starting to see job gains again although still lagging at a state level.
- Local market exceptions. Cases of relatively strong local markets—despite average-to-lagging job markets at a state level—are evident in: Raleigh-NC, Cincinnati-OH, Charlotte-NC, Minneapolis-MN, and Boston-MA among other places.
- Strong markets. The strength in the top 10 states by job growth (2%+ growth) is led by local markets with the strongest gains nationally, which include: Atlanta-GA, Orlando-FL, Las Vegas-NV, Dallas-Ft. Worth-TX, Portland-OR, and Tampa-FL.
The differences by industry and local market are hidden amid the strong overall gain of 261,000 jobs in October—which was a rebound from the gain of just 18,000 jobs in September (depressed by the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria).
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