The primary — at least, on the Republican side — is basically over but for the final counting and the balloon drop.
The Democratic race is putatively still going on — there will be votes today and both candidates are still in — but, at this point, the story of the 2016 election is moving out of the wild and wacky primary phase and re-centering on the general election in November.
But even though the politcos are moving on, PYMNTS still has business left in those primary states, and our business is business. Store front and Main Street businesses to be specific. Today’s primary contests are hitting in states where local businesses have been hit hardest. From rough sledding in Nebraska to West Virginia, where conditions are best described as dismal, the voters voting today are hoping for a turnaround soon.
The only metric that Nebraska bested its regional benchmarks on happened to be real wages and that by only 10 basis points. The remaining metrics found the state lagging, on all fronts. Perhaps the most alarming performance came with the establishments metric, which came in at below 1 percent through the second quarter of the year, with both the regional and national averages coming in at growth rates more than twice that level. The overall number, for Nebraska, showed growth of 2.3 percent through the corresponding time period but paling beside the 3.1 percent seen across the country overall. The overall employment numbers came in at 2.2 percent growth, whereas, again, the nation saw 3.1 percent improvement. At this point, it’s almost moot to say the voters will be voting with their pocketbooks, and yet, it does set the stage for the economy to be among the most important issues come November.
Dismal is the only word that can be used to describe West Virginia’s economic performance as tracked through store fronts. This is one of the few states where we have seen negative performance where all metrics on a national and regional level have been positive and, at times, quite healthily so. The most egregious numbers come from real wages, down more than 1 percent through the second quarter, while up an impressive 4.9 percent nationally. Employment in the state was negative as well, even while nationally that metric was up 3 percent for the same period.