Total personal income and per capita personal income (PCPI) in Wayne County increased by a larger percentage in 2017 (the most current data available) than in 2016. In contrast, the broader Richmond region (1) had smaller growth in 2017. Wayne County's PCPI did stay a little bit above the regional average but was lagging behind Franklin County and Rush County in the region. On the other hand, most of the other more recent indicators illustrate that economic activity in the region did not improve much in 2019. Both the labor force and unemployment rate of Wayne County and the region were about the same over the two years. Wayne County and the region also had about the same employment in the aggregate private sector, with only a very small increase in the weekly wage. The Wayne County housing market demonstrated some degree of conservatism. No substantial change had been observed in the IU East Regional Business Confidence Index with regard to the original five counties (2) in the region (excluding Franklin County and Rush County).
Both Wayne County and the region continued to follow an upward trend in total personal income in 2017 (see Figure 1). This illustrates a persistent improvement in the economic activity and living standard in both the county and the region. Wayne County's total personal income was $2,639,983,000 in 2017, up 3.1 percent from 2016 (ranking 26th in the state).
Wayne County had a PCPI of $39,888 in 2017. This was 88 percent of the state average of $45,150. Although Wayne County's PCPI was slightly above the regional average of $39,462 (see Figure 2), it still lagged behind Franklin County ($44,500) and Rush County ($43,763) in the region.
Within the state, Franklin County and Rush County enjoyed rankings of 18th and 21st, respectively, while Wayne county was ranked 48th among Indiana's 92 counties. In addition, only Franklin County and Rush County were catching up with the state average (see Figure 3). The other counties in the region were falling behind significantly--by over 10 percent.
Wayne County's labor force was made up of 31,061 people in August 2019, representing 31.4 percent of the region's total labor force of 98,935 people (see Figure 4 and Figure 5). The county's labor force averaged 31,363 people for the first eight months of 2019, almost the same size (-0.4 percent from 31,472 people) as the same period in 2018.
Wayne County's unemployment rate was around 3.7 percent over the summer (June through August 2019), down by 27 basis points from that of the same period of last year, whereas the region's unemployment rate average was 10 basis points lower than that of Wayne County in both years (see Figure 4 and Figure 5).
Although still above the state monthly average (3.5 percent), Wayne County (3.8 percent) succeeded to maintain its average monthly unemployment rate the same as the regional monthly average and below the national monthly average in the first eight months of 2019 (see Figure 6).
Jobs and wages
Wayne County's private sector maintained about the same number of jobs (-7) in the first quarter of 2019, whereas its public sector suffered a loss of 42 jobs, as compared with the first quarter of the previous year (see Table 1). On the other hand, the region gained 61 jobs in the private sector and lost 54 jobs in the public sector. While the retail trade (-134 jobs), administrative, support and waste management (-134 jobs), and the wholesale trade (-95 jobs) sectors in Wayne County took the hardest hits, the health care and social services sector continued to experience non-trivial expansion (+243 jobs). The other sectors that had double-digit job growth included manufacturing (+47 jobs), transportation and warehousing (+36 jobs), agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+23 jobs), and accommodation and food services (+21 jobs). Sectors with a double-digit job decline included construction (-15 jobs), wholesale trade (-95 jobs) and educational services (-28 jobs).
The average weekly wage for all jobs in Wayne County, the region and the state remained about the same (growing by less than 1 percent) in the first quarter of 2019, as compared with the same period in 2018 (see Table 2). In Wayne County, wholesale trade (+7.6 percent) and educational services (+6.4 percent) had the greatest increases in weekly wages. At the same time, the greatest declines in weekly wage appeared to be found in the mining industry (-15.7 percent), followed by construction (-11.9 percent), utilitites (-9.8 percent), information (-8.1 percent), and arts, entertainment and recreation (-5.5 percent).
Wayne County issued 13 building permits for new single-family homes over the first nine months in 2019, representing an increase of 30 percent from the same period of 2018 (see Table 3). However, the total proposed cost of $3,313,093 was down by 4.5 percent. This implied that...