Department of Commerce: Secretary Jadin reports on economy

Contact: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661

MADISON — The Wisconsin economy is showing signs of recovery and manufacturing is leading the way, according to Department of Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin.

“I’m encouraged to see Wisconsin and the nation moving out of the recession and into a growth mode,” Secretary Jadin said. “With the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, we’ll have the flexibility and resources to help businesses expand and create jobs.”

Here are some recent trends:

* Wisconsin’s March unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, against a national rate of 8.7 percent.

* Private sector employment increased by 9,800 seasonally adjusted from February to March. The preliminary March figures showed a 2,800 increase in manufacturing jobs, adding to gains of 3,900 in January and 4,800 in February, both final numbers. In March, the health care sector matched manufacturing’s gain of 2,800 jobs.

* According to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by the state Department of Workforce Development, six of Wisconsin’s 12 biggest metropolitan areas gained jobs in March from February: Appleton (up 600); Eau Claire (up 800); Janesville (200); Madison (300); Oshkosh-Neenah (up 100). Initial unemployment insurance claims now mimic the 2007 level and pattern.

* Defying many commonly held misconceptions, Wisconsin has the fourth-lowest state and local tax burden for business expansion in the nation, according to a study entitled Competitiveness of State and Local Business Taxes on New Investment. The study was compiled by the Quantitative Economics and Statistics Practice (QUEST) of Ernst & Young LLP in conjunction with the Council On State Taxation (COST).

There are encouraging signs nationally as well

* Personal Income is up 5.1 percent in February
* Consumption is up 4.1 percent in February
* Retail Sales Rose 7.1 percent in March
* Industrial output is up 5.9 percent in March

* The Consumer Price Index and retail sales have been up for 9 consecutive months. The April CPI was 69.6, up from 67.5 in March

* Federal Reserve Board-Chicago Midwest Manufacturing Index is up six consecutive months to 83.3 for February 2011.

* According to the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago (ISM):

— Factory activity in the Midwest hit a 22-1/2 year high in January. The barometer of Midwestern business rose from 66.8 in December to 68.8 in January, the highest since July 1988. 

— Chicago purchasing managers surveyed reported that the jump was due to a surge in orders – up to the highest level in 27 years.

— Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in January for the 18th consecutive month. The manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in January to reach its highest level since May 2004.

* The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI economic forecast states that manufacturing will outpace economic growth in 2011 and 2012. Manufacturing production will outpace the overall economy and is expected to show 5.5 percent growth in 2011 and 4.6percent growth in 2012.