Tuesday Trends sample: Bank optimism rising, jobs numbers mixed and beer falling
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Bank optimism: The latest survey of bank CEOs conducted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association shows half of respondents expect the state's economy to grow over the next six months, while none said they expect conditions to weaken. Survey results also forecast steady demand for business loans -- the percentage of bankers rating loan demand as "poor" declined from 52 percent in January's survey to 23 percent in this one -- and increased stability in the housing industry. In addition, WBA President Rose Oswald Poels says one in five respondents expects businesses in their market area to hire in the next six months, and that the results show bankers are confident that the stateís economy has turned a corner.
Jobs numbers: New numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics largely back up Gov. Scott Walker's claim during the recall election campaign that Wisconsin gained jobs in 2011. But the numbers also show the state had one of the worst job growth rates in the country for the year. Overall, the state gained 19,551 jobs overall and 27,811 private sector jobs. The growth rate of 0.7 percent for all jobs put it ahead of only seven other states and last among those in the Midwest. It also trailed the national growth rate of 1.4 percent. Walker's office says the numbers confirm job gains last year, and highlights data showing total wages in the state for the first three months of the year rose 6.8 percent over the same period in 2011. Meanwhile, data released by the U.S. Census Bureau provides another example of the damage cause by the recession in Wisconsin. The numbers show Wisconsin lost more than 6,700 companies between 2007 and 2010, a drop of 4.6 percent. The number of paid employees also dropped 6.6 during that span as the state lost more than 160,000 jobs.
Beer: New figures from the state Department of Revenue show excise taxes on beer retailers and wholesalers amounted to $9.3 million in 2011, a 3 percent decline over 2010 and the lowest amount in at least five years. Industry observers say the figures show the market isn't immune to the problems facing the rest of the economy, but many say the demand for craft beer in Wisconsin remains strong. That market, however, is experiencing its own problems. One craft brewery founder says itís difficult to expand in the current credit market. And if microbreweries do expand, they're facing stiffer competition on store shelves with more and more brewers entering the market.