Residential solar has seen brighter days.
As detailed in the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight report, national residential PV installations fell both year-over-year (17 percent) and quarter-over-quarter (11 percent) for the first time since GTM Research began tracking the market on a quarterly basis in 2010. That’s a big deal.
When one takes a closer look at the data, it’s clear that much of this downturn can be pegged to the fortunes of California, which is still the largest state market for residential PV. But the state’s standing is diminishing.
In Q1, California accounted for its smallest share of the national market at 35 percent -- down from 42 percent in Q1 2016 -- while falling over 30 percent year-over-year.
But the shortage is particularly problematic in places such as Kosciusko County, where the unemployment rate rests at 2 percent. Of the county’s 41,136 adults who can work, 40,311 are employed, according to government statistics. This region — a land of clear lakes, duck farms and medical device makers — escaped the industrial decline that rocked other communities throughout the Rust Belt. It prospered, thanks to a local industry that proved largely immune to competition from China and Mexico. But without more people to grow Warsaw’s business, the chances of companies relocating is “extraordinarily high,” said Michael Hicks, a labor economist at Indiana’s Ball State University
The report follows a disappointing April, when the state lost jobs for the first time in several months. The May unemployment rate dropped from 4.8% in April, but it still hovers above the national rate of 4.3%. For the second month in a row, the state economy’s year-over-year growth was slower in May than the overall U.S. economy.
LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics has released the report, Goods on the Move: Trade and Logistics in Southern California. The report looks at jobs, wages, economic impact, trends, and factors affecting the future of this major regional industry cluster, which directly employs over half a million people in Southern California. The industry continues to grow, with more jobs being added. While average wages for the industry as a whole are above the LA County average, the individual occupations span a wide range of salaries. Warehousing experienced a 55% increase in employment during the past ten years, but salaries in that sector have been trending down, and increasing automation is a factor to watch.
Overzealous political promises notwithstanding, Wisconsin’s job growth over the past six years has been extraordinarily strong. In fact, job growth has slowed recently only because Wisconsin essentially has run out people who are unemployed due to broad economic factors. In other words, one cannot reduce a jobs deficit that no longer exists.