THU AM News: Construction and real estate jobs, earnings recently declined, report shows; Pence presses Congress to pass U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement in Pleasant Prairie stop

— Wisconsin’s construction and real estate industries make up 15 percent of both the state’s GDP and total jobs, but those impacts have recently declined, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. 

The report shows 15.8 percent of the state’s GDP is directly attributable to real estate and construction. And these industries support 380,000 jobs, or 15.4 percent of all jobs in the state. 

Tom Larson, the association’s senior vice president of legal and public affairs, says these jobs are a “dramatic part” of the state’s growing economy. But he notes a “disconcerting” trend in the report, as both earnings and employment for construction and real estate have declined since 2001. 

Report authors wrote that “Wisconsin is not keeping pace with the nation in providing the housing and commercial buildings necessary to shelter its residents and create productive commercial properties for business and economic growth.” 

Between 2001 and 2017, these industries declined from 16.3 percent of state GDP to 15.1 percent. At the same time, employment as a share of total state employment fell from 16.5 percent to 15.4 percent. 

Still, construction and real estate services are supporting growth in personal earnings, the report shows. 

Between 2001 and 2017, these industries supported personal earnings growth of $5.7 billion, increasing 40 percent from $11.9 billion to $17.6 billion. For 2017, that accounted for 15.1 percent of private earnings in the state.

See more: 

— Vice President Mike Pence during a stop in Pleasant Prairie called on Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, saying it’s “a win for Wisconsin and a win for America.”

Pence, speaking yesterday at an America First Policies event at the Uline warehouse in Pleasant Prairie, urged attendees to contact Dems representing Wisconsin in Congress, singling out U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.

“Tell the Democrats representing Wisconsin in Washington, D.C., that Wisconsin needs the USMCA,” Pence said.

But he said there’s no need to contact Republicans representing the state, as “they’re fighting every day for the USMCA.”

Pence said the trade agreement would boost both manufacturing and agriculture in Wisconsin and the U.S.

“It’s a win in the city and on the farm, and it’s still sitting there on the speaker’s desk,” Pence said.

He predicted that if Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., brought the trade deal to the floor, it would pass with bipartisan support.

Pence drew applause several times during his address before a large crowd on Uline’s warehouse floor, particularly when highlighting economic gains made under President Trump. 

See more from his remarks at 

— U.S. House Dems are “trying to get to ‘yes'” on President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal, according to U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Ways and Means Committee member.

“We’re not trying to kill this initiative simply because it’s a Trump initiative,” the Milwaukee Dem said at a DC breakfast yesterday. “We want to do the right thing for the country.”

If approved by all three nations involved, USMCA would replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement, established Jan. 1, 1994.

The three countries agreed on the modification to trade policy on Oct. 1, 2018. Negotiations began back in the summer 2017.

The Mexican government ratified the USMCA in July this year shortly after Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, their newly elected president, took office. The U.S. and Canada have yet to approve of the deal through their respective governments.

Moore said some House Dems have concerns over the labor standards in the agreement and a lack of enforcement measures to make sure those standards are met. She said another Dem issue with agreement is the chapter on patents and intellectual property rights for the pharmaceutical industry. 

See more at 

— More Wisconsin voters than not have a positive view of the economy’s performance over the past year, according to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll. 

Forty-one percent say the economy has improved over the past 12 months, while 20 percent say it has worsened and 36 percent say it hasn’t changed. 

The economic outlook for next year is net negative, the poll shows, with 25 percent saying it will improve, 30 percent saying it will get worse and 39 percent expecting no change. This is the third Marquette Law School Poll from this year showing net pessimism about the economic outlook for the coming year. 

This latest poll interviewed 799 registered Wisconsin voters Oct. 13-17. 

See the full results: 

— Foxconn’s planned innovation centers across the state appear to be on hold as the company focuses its efforts on its manufacturing project in Mount Pleasant, according to media reports. 

These innovation centers have been announced in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Racine and Madison. But since Foxconn purchased the first of the buildings for these centers about 18 months ago, the report shows that little progress has been made. 

See more in Foxconn Reports. 

— The U.S. Department of Energy is providing $500,000 in grants to a Marquette University professor developing improved systems for power management. 

Nathan Weise, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is getting the funding through DOE’s BREAKERS initiative, which stands for Building Reliable Electronics to Achieve Kilovolt Effective Ratings Safely. 

His project aims to develop an electronic device for distributing electrical current, for applications including power distribution, solar and wind energy, and electric vehicles. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering at Marquette, says Weise’s leadership in the area of power electronics “has earned him well-deserved recognition among his peers.” 

See more on the project here: 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is joining a bipartisan group of senators in calling for extending long term funding for community health centers — 18 of which are in Wisconsin. 

According to a release from the Madison Dem, funding for CHCs is set to expire Nov. 21. She and others are calling on Senate leaders to pass the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act. This bill would reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund and the National Health Service Corps for five years. 

CHCs around the country serve more than 29 million patients with a variety of services, including efforts to fight opioid addiction, preventative care and other types of care. The release shows community health centers will lose 70 percent of their federal grants if the fund expires. 

See the release: 

See the letter to Senate leadership: 

— CVS Health is expanding its drug disposal program, adding drop-off locations for unwanted medications at all 29 of its CVS Pharmacy locations in Wisconsin. 

Previously, five in-store disposal units had been installed and 48 more were donated to local law enforcement in the state. Across the country, CVS says more than 1,700 of its pharmacies now have safe medication disposal units, while more than 900 units have been donated to law enforcement agencies. 

In Wisconsins, this effort has collected more than 47,000 pounds of unwanted or expired medications. Nationwide, CVS has collected more than 1.1 million pounds of meds. 

Tom Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer and general counsel for CVS Health, says the effort helps address opioid prescription misuse — just one element of the opioid crisis gripping communities across the country. 

And Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele notes the effort has an environmental angle as well. 

“The safe disposal of addictive pills in drop boxes not only means they are out of our medicine cabinets when they are no longer needed,” he said in a release. “It means they are no longer being flushed and at risk of tainting Lake Michigan.”

See the release: 

— Moxe, a Madison startup, announced recently that its clinical data platform called Substrate has been verified to interface with Epic’s electronic health records system.

According to a release, health systems on Epic’s EHR will be able to securely share vital medical information with the nation’s leading health plans.

“Moxe is committed to furthering interoperability in health care,” CEO Dan Wilson said in a statement. “We’re excited to offer Substrate for Epic and proud to offer a solution that is paperless, instant and accurate.”

Substrate interfaces with Epic to support compliant routing of clinical data for a range of payment- and operations-related use cases. 

See more at Madison Startups: 


# Visit Milwaukee names Marcus Hotels executive Williams-Smith as new CEO

# Wisconsin voters souring on economic outlook, MU Law Poll finds

# Conference brings more than 200 to Madison to discuss equity for students of color

# Pence pushes trade deal in Wisconsin, denounces Democrats



– Record attendance for state FFA leadership workshops


– Mandel ‘not wasting any time’ as work starts on apartments at Ballpark Commons in Franklin


– MATC opens new automotive education center at downtown campus

– WCMA pledges more funding for UWRF dairy pilot plant


– Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea opens on Milwaukee’s East Side


– Foxconn Innovation Centers On Hold Across The State


– Sixteenth Street plans new clinic on Milwaukee’s south side

– Froedtert & Medical College donate $6M for new Sixteenth Street clinic


– Silgan Containers temporarily laying off 22 employees in Menomonee Falls


– Kaul joins suit challenging rollback of Endangered Species Act


– Marcus Hotels & Resorts exec named new CEO of VISIT Milwaukee


– Sturtevant industrial building acquired by Illinois-based paper manufacturer

– Indian challenges Harley-Davidson with new Wisconsin-made engine — and a new model


– Pence headed to Wisconsin to tout trade deal

– Shaky ground: Amid hardship and uncertainty, some in Trump’s rural base are having second thoughts


– DNR board approves E. Coli water regulations

– Bill aims to set new limits on TIF districts

– DNR board approves e. coli water regulations


– Duluth Trading Co. opening a store that only sells underwear in the Mall of America

– Kroger foot traffic fell but there are promising signs, study shows

– Pegasus Games in Madison to close after failing to find a buyer


– Local businesses aim to cash in on Hamilton’s Milwaukee run

– Milwaukee County budget proposes $5M increase for Concourse E rebuild at Mitchell


– Tia Murray and Micaela Berry: Paid family leave legislation critical to improving maternal and child health in Wisconsin


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Health groups: Support bill that includes e-cigarettes in Wisconsin’s clean indoor air law

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: Scott Manley promoted to executive vice president

Dept. of Workforce Development: Wisconsin Business Closing and Mass Layoff Notice (WARN): Silgan Containers