(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 5 Dec. 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Only two of 20 metro area business activity indicators tracked by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce registered improvement in October over year-earlier levels. October’s two improvements are down from the five upward pointing indicators posted for September.

“October’s performance marks the smallest number of improved indicators posted in any month in the 18 years for which comparable data is available,” said Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the MMAC. “While the metro area certainly has posted larger job losses and higher unemployment rates in other recessionary months, the aggregate performance of monthly indicators as a whole reached a low ebb in October.”

*See the MMAC press release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/081204MMACtrendsPR.pdf
*See the full MMAC report: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/large/081204MMACtrends.pdf

— The national unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent in November after the loss of 533,000 jobs. The one-month job loss is the largest since 1974.

See the release from the national Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

— Wisconsin’s agricultural exports increased by 7 percent to a record $1.5 billion during the first nine months of 2008.

Dairy exports grew by 39 percent, up from $126 million in the first nine months of 2007 to $176 million in the first nine months of 2008. Exports were driven by a healthy demand for cheese and butter. Cheese exports set a record value of $75 million for the first nine months of 2008, a robust 47 percent increase.

See the press release for more: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=142812

— Business leaders from Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties say the key to a stronger economy in southeastern Wisconsin is a regional transit system with dedicated funding.

The Regional Transit Authority has recommended a 0.5 percent regional sales tax as a funding source.

Tim Sheehy, president of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, said during a Thursday panel discussion that southeastern Wisconsin needs a transit system that supports an economy rather than a county.

Sheehy said he supports a Regional Transit Authority because it would have greater lobbying power at the state and federal level.

The comments came during a panel discussion after RTA chairman Karl Ostby presented the group’s recommendations regarding development of a regional transit system that would include a commuter rail line connecting Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.

Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce President Roger Caron echoed Sheehy’s concerns.

“We need to invest now in our infrastructure,” Caron said.

Read the full story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=142863

— Plymouth Tube Co. in East Troy has filed notice with the state of plans to lay off an unspecified number of workers starting Jan. 30, 2009. When contacted by the state, the company said the layoffs would affect 31 workers. The company has more than 100 full-time employees.

See the company’s filing: http://www.wisbusiness.com/1008/081204plymouthtube.pdf

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Press Releases
· Dept. of Transportation: State has lowest number of traffic deaths in November since World War II
· Dept. of Workforce Development: Secretary Gassman salutes Eclipse Charter School, highlights Beloit partnership in creating career pathways, meeting need for skilled workers
· Discover Mediaworks: Stephanie Klett and Greg Smith promoted to managing directors of Discover Wisconsin Media Network
· Gov. Doyle: Doyle announces state’s record agricultural export growth in 2008
· Gov. Doyle: To kick-off comprehensive plan to restore Lake Delton
· Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce: 2009 Board of Directors announced
· Lake Lawn Resort: Offers “Big” parties for small budgets amidst unpredictable economy
· Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: October economic trends report released
· MillerCoors: Invites community to “Share the Holiday Lites in the Miller Valley”
· New North, Inc.: New North city possible location for intermodal terminal
· Office of the Commissioner of Insurance: November 2008 Administrative Actions
· Overture Center: Board approves smaller budget
· Sologear: Madison company invited to address violence against women at international research conference
· UW-Madison: Nicholas gift endows business school deanship
· Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance: Wisconsin ethanol co-product exports up 93%
· Wisconsin Public Power Inc: Now offers green-e energy certified renewable energy

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


TOP STORIES
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Stoughton Trailers says ‘mass layoff’ possible : Stoughton Trailers has notified the state Department of Workforce Development that it could have “mass layoffs,” starting Feb. 2 or later. But Patrice Gillespie, vice president of human resources, said the notice is just a contingency plan, in case of a worst-case scenario. “We do not wish to execute it,” Gillespie said. “We’re not closing; we’re not going away.”
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/317238

Ag exports up, set new record: Wisconsin’s agricultural exports increased 7 percent through the first nine months of 2008. Gov. Jim Doyle’s office said Thursday that the $1.5 billion in exports is a record high for a nine-month period.
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081205/GPG03/812050629/1247

Associated Bank honored by SBA: Associated Bank recently was named No. 1 Small Business Administration lender in Wisconsin for fiscal year 2008, according to a recent SBA report. Associated surpassed other banks in number of loans originated, nearly doubling that of the second-highest lender. From Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2008, Associated Bank made 400 SBA loans for a value of nearly $30 million — 85 more loans than the company made in fiscal year 2007.
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081205/APC03/812050503/1028

Bucks are lowest valued team in the NBA: The Milwaukee Bucks are the lowest valued team in the 30-team National Basketball League, according to a new ranking by Forbes magazine. The Bucks are worth $278 million, according to the magazine, which annually rates the value of sports franchises. That’s $6 million less than the next lowest valued team, the Charlotte Bobcats. NBA franchises routinely dismiss the value of the Forbes calculations, although NBA.com put the story on its own Web site.
http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/35542809.html

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WISBUSINESS FEATURED COLUMNISTS

GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant
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TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Madison-based Musicnotes.com setting sales records
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/317198

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Employers cut 533K jobs in Nov., most in 34 years
http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FINANCIAL_MELTDOWN?SITE=WIMAD&SECTION=HOME

– Abele: Not all nonprofits will survive
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/08/story2.html?b=1228712400^1743198

– 18 of 20 economic indicators worsen in last month
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35582469.html

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Kimball Hill Homes ceases operations
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily46.html

– Super Steel to invest in Milwaukee plants
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily45.html

– State lawmaker presses GM execs on Janesville
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35564189.html

LABOR (back to top)
– University of Wisconsin System faces crisis in keeping professors’ pay raises competitive
http://www.stevenspointjournal.com/article/20081205/SPJ0101/812050680/1983/SHE03

– Wisconsin government retirees fund takes a huge hit
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35544199.html

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Wreaths provide cash for Northwoods holiday
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20081205/GPG03/812050628/1247

– GM car dealers Dudas, Cooper Motors combine, swap lines with Scaffidi
http://www.stevenspointjournal.com/article/20081205/SPJ0101/812050683/1983/SHE03

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Great Wolf gets extension on mortgage
http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/biz/317145

– WHEDA tabs funds to prevent foreclosures
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily48.html

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Wisconsin Ethanol Co-Product Exports Nearly Doubled
http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1462&yr=2008

– Wisconsin women take on bigger roles in farming
http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/35582409.html

RETAIL (back to top)
– The Buzz: Half Price Books coming to Grand Chute; Sammy’s Pizza in Appleton closing
http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081205/APC03/812050510/1028

– Verizon Wireless opens Middleton store
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/317229

– Schlossmann buys Subaru of Milwaukee
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily47.html

– Kohl’s same-store sales tumble 17.5 %
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily40.html

– Retailers blue despite Black Friday
http://www.jsonline.com/business/35534759.html

TOURISM (back to top)
– Hope returns to Lake Delton
http://www.madison.com/wsj/topstories/317204

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Recession not dimming American Superconductor’s outlook
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/317224

– Wisconsin Energy to raise 1Q dividend
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/01/daily49.html

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Walker to try again on St. Michael Hospital proposal
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/08/story5.html?b=1228712400^1743292

FINANCIAL SERVICES (back to top)
– Banks see uptick in refinancings
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2008/12/08/story1.html?b=1228712400^1743184

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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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