Free Tuesday Trends sample: Exports rising, state air fares mixed and hiring plans falling

Below is an excerpt from the most recent edition of WisBusiness Tuesday Trends.

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RISING

Exports: The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announces that the state has exported $17.4 billion worth of products through the first three quarters of 2012. That’s a 6.4 percent increase over export levels during the same period in 2011 — besting the national increase of 5 percent over that span — and puts the state on pace for $23.5 billion in total exports this year, which would break last year’s record of $22 billion. Industrial machinery, which accounted for nearly a third of the state’s total exports, increased 11 percent through the third quarter due to increases in earthmoving and mining equipment as well as transmission and gear parts. Vehicle exports were up 20 percent through the last quarter, while agricultural exports increased four percent as the state jumped from No. 17 in ag exports last year to No. 12 currently.

MIXED

State air fares: The costs to fly from General Mitchell International Airport may have gone up in the last year, but new statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation show the Milwaukee airport remains among the least expensive large airports in the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics says the average fare for a domestic flight at Mitchell in the 2nd quarter of the year was $328. That’s good for No. 85 among the nation’s 100 biggest airports despite an average fare of $309 during the same period last year. The other state airport included in the survey, however, was among the most expensive in the country. Dane County Regional Airport in Madison saw average fares rise from $440 last year to $473 this year, ranking No. 7 in the survey.

FALLING

Hiring plans: Wisconsin CEOs say the state is heading the right direction, according to the latest Economic Outlook Survey from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. But they say taxes, regulations and the economic slowdown continue to hamper growth, and the percentage of those planning to add jobs in the next six months has dropped off significantly. Only 24 percent of CEOs say they will be creating jobs in that time span, down from 62 percent from the WMC survey released in June 2012. Looking at current hiring, meanwhile, some 55 percent of respondents say they are having trouble hiring, and 67 percent said they can’t find qualified applicants. Ninety-three percent of the 121 CEOs who answered the survey said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction; 30 percent said the economic slowdown is the top policy concern for the state, and 23 percent said taxes were their top concern.