THU AM News: Expert says higher pay, incentives could help avert workforce issues; DOR predicts personal income growth to match national trend

— The head of research and analytics for the Wisconsin Counties Association says higher pay for workers and government incentives could help the state avert a worsening workforce crisis.

Dale Knapp is also the director of Forward Analytics, a research group based in Wisconsin that has released a report warning of a projected decline in the state’s working age population. In an interview, Knapp said the existing workforce shortage “is likely to get much worse” and solving this issue will require intervention by both policymakers and business leaders. 

“Moving In? Exploring Wisconsin’s Migration Challenges” predicts the number of state residents in “prime working years” will decline by 130,000 by 2030 if migration trends from the past decade persist. Based on federal data from 2012 through 2020, report authors found the state lost 106,000 income tax filers under age 26 while attracting fewer than 89,000. That includes both young families and individuals. 

“One of the reasons is, when you look at average pay for the kinds of jobs that we’re graduating people into, our pay tends to be on average 10 to 15 percent below the national average, and below a lot of places that we’re competing with,” Knapp said yesterday, pointing to Minneapolis and Chicago. 

Though he acknowledged that disparity differs across various industries, he argued “we’re going to have to figure out how we narrow that gap” to attract and retain workers. 

Part of the issue is that most people across the country only associate Wisconsin with the Green Bay Packers, cold weather and cheese, Knapp explained. Aside from greater awareness about what makes the state appealing — high-quality education, relatively low crime rates and cost of living — he said financial commitments from the state could help. 

That could include incentives such as eliminating a portion of college debt for graduates coming out of the state, or direct payments to people who are willing to move to Wisconsin and stay for a certain period of time, he said. 

“One of the states to look to in this, I think, is Maine,” he said. “Because Maine actually has been losing population for a number of years now, and they’ve put together a variety of programs … providing incentives to move there. And we’re actually seeing cities and counties throughout the country beginning to do this as well.” 

The report also highlights “Wisconsin’s challenge with high-income families,” noting a greater share of families with incomes above $200,000 have moved out of state than those with lower income levels. Still, Knapp said this trend has been shifting in a favorable direction between 2012 and 2020.

Of households leaving the state, the percentage of those with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 fell from 46.6 percent to 40 percent over that period. For those with incomes above $200,000, the percentage fell from 60.3 percent to 52.2 percent.

“We’re trending in the right direction in that fewer of those high-income movers are leaving the state now than they were eight years ago, and I think that’s a good sign,” he said. 

Most of the families leaving Wisconsin went to neighboring states or other states with warm weather and lower income taxes, report authors noted. For the youngest of those leaving, states with largest cities were a popular destination. 

The report shows more than a third of the families that moved out of the state from 2012 to 2020 went to a state bordering Wisconsin. 

And while the net migration of families during that period has been negative, the report shows this trend has been improving as well. Based on IRS figures, the state had a net loss of 380 families in 2020. But report authors say that’s a “significant improvement” from 2014 when the net loss figure was 6,893. They note net migration since then has improved every year except for 2019. 

See the full report:

— The state Department of Revenue predicts personal income in Wisconsin to grow in line with the national trend this year and the next. 

That’s according to the agency’s latest economic forecast, which expects personal income in the state to grow 3.2 percent in 2022 and 4.9 percent in 2023. At the national level, those numbers are 3.2 percent and 5 percent. 

When accounting for higher prices, real personal income is predicted to fall 2.8 percent in 2022, compared to a nationwide decline of 2.9 percent this year. 

Meanwhile, wage growth for 2022 is expected to be 9.2 percent, slightly lower than the national rate of 10.1 percent. That’s after state wages and salaries grew 8 percent in 2021, compared to 9.5 percent nationwide. 

And DOR predicts employment in Wisconsin will increase 2.4 percent in 2022 and 1.4 percent in 2023, pushing overall employment above pre-pandemic levels early next year. 

“Moving forward, the jobs recovery will be led by the leisure and hospitality sector which was the most severely impacted given the nature of the pandemic recession,” report authors wrote. “During 2022, Manufacturing, Professional and Business Services, and Trade, Transportation and Utilities will be the other sectors contributing most to employment growth.” 

See the report: 

— Former Fiserv CEO Jeff Yabuki has been named an executive-in-residence for UW-Milwaukee’s Sheldon B. Lubar College of Business. 

According to the university, Yabuki serve as a mentor and guest lecturer and teach courses on finance, technology and management as the college’s Sheldon B. Lubar Executive-in-Residence. 

Yabuki was CEO of Fiserv from December 2005 to May 2020, and is credited with nearly tripling the company’s revenue during his tenure. He is currently chairman of private equity firm Motive Partners, which focuses on financial technologies or “fintech.” 

Lubar College of Business Dean Kaushal Chari says the school is “incredibly fortunate” to have Yabuki’s expertise. 

“Our students stand to benefit immensely from the deep level of expertise and leadership experience that Jeff will bring to the classroom,” Chari said in the release. 

See the release: 

— ThedaCare and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin have announced a new partnership aimed at expanding access to certain specialty care. 

Through the new partnership, the Froedtert and MCW health network will provide ThedaCare patients with specialty services including heart and lung transplants and treatment for advanced heart failure. ThedaCare will provide pre- and post-treatment care locally, according to the announcement. 

Meanwhile, Froedtert and MCW will also be providing telemedicine services through the partnership, coordinated with ThedaCare care providers. 

These coordinated care services are expected to begin later this year. 

Dr. Joseph Kerschner, dean of the MCW School of Medicine, explains transplant teams need to react within “just a few hours” of organ procurement to improve results for recipients. 

“Our new partnership will ensure this seamless care for patients throughout the region,” he said. 

And Dr. Imran Andrabi, president and CEO of ThedaCare, says patients in northeastern and central Wisconsin “can expect better health outcomes through expanded, convenient access to coordinated, specialty care close to home.” 

See more details on the partnership in the release: 

— SHINE Technologies has made an agreement to supply an Australian company called Radiopharm Theranostics with a medical isotope. 

The isotope — non-carrier-added lutetium-177 — will be used by Radiopharm Theranostics to develop diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceutical products, according to the companies. 

Radiopharm Theranostics CEO and Managing Director Riccardo Canevari says ensuring supply of isotopes like these helps the business “accelerate our clinical programs unimpeded.” 

“Lutetium-177 is required for three of our more advanced assets and this clinical supply agreement with SHINE, an experienced player in nuclear technology, is another important step in de-risking our business plan,” he said in the release. 

See a recent story on SHINE here: 

See the release: 

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