MON AM News: Economic trends mixed in Milwaukee, MMAC report shows; State ranked 30th for cost of living

— The head of research for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce says regional economic trends are “a bit mixed of late.” 

“There certainly are negative factors in the economic environment — high consumer price inflation and rising interest rates — but to this point they have not had a strong negative effect on local job markets,” MMAC Vice President of Economic Research Bret Mayborne said in the group’s latest report. 

Thirteen of the 22 economic indicators the group tracks showed improvement over the year in September, marking a slight improvement from the 12 positive indicators in August. 

Milwaukee saw a 19.3 percent year-over-year increase in manufacturing production workers’ hourly earnings in September, which Mayborne notes is “well over” consumer price inflation. The annual inflation rate was 7.7 percent in October, slightly below September’s rate of 8.2 percent. 

Meanwhile, the MMAC report also highlights an 18.3 percent decline in metro area home sales in September. That’s the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline. 

Metro Milwaukee jobs averaged 849,300 in September, which is 1.9 percent above the previous year’s figure, the report shows. That’s just above the 1.4 percent increase seen in August. 

The rising job figures were driven by year-over-year job gains in seven of the region’s 10 major industry sectors, according to MMAC’s figures. The largest increase — 10.3 percent — was in construction, mining and natural resources. The largest decline was seen in the financial activity sector, which had 3.4 percent fewer jobs compared to the previous September. 

And while Milwaukee manufacturers continue to add jobs, MMAC notes that’s occurring at a slower rate. The 1.1 percent increase in September was the 18th consecutive month of job growth for manufacturing, but it’s the smallest increase since June 2021. 

Other indicators tracked in the report include traffic volumes at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport, new car registrations, mortgages and more. 

See the full report: 

— Wisconsin is ranked 30th among U.S. states for cost of living, according to first-quarter 2022 figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. 

The council, which has been conducting economic research since 1968, has a cost of living index that includes prices for goods and services such housing, groceries, transportation, utilities and health care. 

In a report from the UW-Madison Division of Extension, economist Steven Deller provides an overview on these figures. Deller is a professor in the university’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. 

Wisconsin’s index score is 96.8, which is 3.2 percent below the national average of 100. It’s higher than Illinois, which has a score of 92.2, but below both Minnesota and Michigan with 98.2 and 97.3, respectively. 

By comparison, the most expensive state to live in is Hawaii, with an index score of 188.3. That means the cost of living there is 88.3 percent higher than the national average, Deller notes. And Mississippi has the lowest cost of living with an index score of 83.9. 

See the report: 

See more on the index: 

— Attorney General Josh Kaul and 17 other state AGs are urging the U.S. Senate to pass a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that includes measures to address PFAS contamination. 

They recently sent a letter to Senate leadership calling for passage of “a bill incorporating many of the important PFAS provisions now found only in the House Bill.” 

These include: expanding the list of prohibited products in the fiscal year 2023 NDAA; prohibiting procurement of firefighting equipment containing PFAS after Oct. 1, 2025; directing federal health officials to expand a study of the health impacts of these chemicals; and others. 

“We urge Congress to maintain focus on PFAS remediation as a crucial priority in crafting the final version of the FY2023 NDAA and to keep the goal of developing strong federal regulation of PFAS compounds at the forefront for Congress,” the AGs wrote. 

In a Wisconsin Department of Justice release, Kaul says the legislation they’re supporting would “improve our response to the dangers presented by PFAS, helping to remediate contamination, prevent future contamination, and more effectively address the harms to people’s health from PFAS.”

See the letter: 

See the release: 

— Startup accelerator gener8tor recently announced it has now assisted more than 1,000 early-stage companies since launching in 2012. 

In a joint statement, co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller said venture capital must commit to investing outside of the major tech ecosystems “to continue growing our inclusive economy and spurring innovation outside of the coasts and in emerging markets” across the United States. 

Eighty percent of gener8tor startups are located outside of major tech hubs and 67 percent are led by underrepresented founders, according to a release. 

“For the past decade, we’ve proven that everyone benefits when investment dollars are diversified among founders of color, people of all genders and in places throughout the country ranging from Wisconsin to Alabama,” they said. 

See more at Madison Startups: 

<br><b><i>Top headlines from the Health Care Report … </b></i>

— A scientist at Marquette University is getting $1.1 million in National Science Foundation funding for research on how genetic differences impact aging. 

And the Wisconsin Partnership Program is providing two community organizations with $500,000 each for efforts to support people with addiction and reduce lead poisoning. 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and</i>

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