TUE AM News: MMAC survey finds tempered optimism among business leaders; State exceeds diversity contracting goals

— The latest MMAC business outlook survey finds company leaders “more tempered in their optimism” due to inflation and persistent labor shortages. 

Bret Mayborne, economic research director for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said business leaders in the region expect local economic growth to continue through the second quarter and rest of the year. 

But he added that “levels of optimism expressed on sales, profit and employment are all modestly lower than first-quarter expectations in our previous survey.” 

Top business concerns highlighted in the survey include historically high inflation and low unemployment rates, while supply chain problems were ranked as a “moderate” concern and office reopening plans were “of least concern” among all respondents. But manufacturers ranked supply chain issues as one of their top concerns. 

Of the 77 surveyed firms that employ over 21,000 workers, 70 percent predict real sales gains in the second quarter of 2022, compared to this time last year. That’s down from the 75 percent who predicted first-quarter sales gains in the prior survey. 

And 54 percent of respondents expect higher profits in the second quarter, compared to 63 percent for the first quarter. 

Meanwhile, 49 percent said they expect year-over-year jobs growth this quarter, down slightly from the 53 percent who predicted employment to rise in the first quarter. 

The report shows jobs growth in metro Milwaukee has been “slow and steady in 2022’s early months.” Job numbers have increased at a 1.6 percent average year-to-date rate compared to the prior year, with the best numbers seen in leisure and hospitality and manufacturing. 

MMAC notes variations in employment expectation by industry and business size are small. Among manufacturers, 52 percent predict job gains over the year in the second quarter, compared to 48 percent for all other businesses. Larger employers are “slightly more likely” to predict employment growth than small employers, with 51 percent compared to 47 percent, respectively. 

Report authors note “Price inflation and labor shortages are likely driving potential future wage and salary increases.” Average per-person wage and salary increases are forecasted at 5.7 percent for the next 12 months, marking “a considerably higher rate than that predicted in recent years.” 

See more survey results: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/mmac-business-outlook-survey-second-quarter-2022/ 

— Wisconsin has again exceeded its diversity contracting goals, with 6.34 percent of spending in fiscal year 2021 going to minority-owned enterprises and disabled veteran-owned businesses. 

That’s according to a release from the Department of Administration, which shows the state’s goal of spending 5 percent of state dollars with minority-owned enterprises has been reached for the second year in a row. Last year’s diversity spending level was the highest it’s been since the Wisconsin Supplier Diversity Program began in 1983, the release shows. 

This percentage has varied slightly in the past five years, from 4.39 percent in FY 2016, to 4.87 percent in 2017, 4.57 percent in 2018, 3.95 percent in 2019 and 5.4 percent in 2020. 

Entities certified through the program can get a 5 percent bid preference for state contracts, DOA says. 

Program director Tondra Davis says working with diverse companies is “a key component of economic equity, job and wealth creation” in Wisconsin. 

“Not only have we met the MBE spend goal two years in a row, we have also reached a new record high of 6.34% and record $192M spend with diverse businesses, while expanding education and other opportunities for business owners across the state,” she said in the release. 

See the release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIGOV/bulletins/315b7b5 

— Wisconsin AFL-CIO says it “stands in solidarity” with United Auto Workers members striking in Racine and Burlington, Iowa. 

Over 1,000 workers at two CNH Industrial plants in Racine and Burlington went on strike after a breakdown in labor contract discussions, the Associated Press reported. The company makes agricultural and construction equipment. 

According to the AFL-CIO release, over 600 members of UAW Local 180 work at the CNH facility in Racine. 

“UAW members are holding the line to strengthen our American middle class by standing together for a good union contract that establishes fair work rules with good wages and the ability to retire with dignity,” Stephanie Bloomingdale, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, said in a statement. “We send strength and solidarity to the striking workers and urge CNHi to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable contract.”  

See the full statement: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/wisconsin-afl-cio-stands-in-solidarity-with-uaw-workers-on-strike-at-cnhi/ 

See more in Top Stories below. 

— Milwaukee’s Department of City Development is seeking developer proposals for the Homes MKE initiative, which will renovate vacant city-owned residential properties. 

A release from the city shows the Milwaukee Common Council last year allocated $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars to the initiative. The effort aims to sell, renovate and reoccupy at least 150 foreclosed houses while providing job opportunities for the construction effort and benefitting the surrounding neighborhoods. 

See the request for proposals here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/cityDCD/RFP/RFPHOMESMKE-FINAL4.29.22.pdf 

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/city-of-milwaukee-seeking-developer-proposals-for-homes-mke-initiative/ 

— The Governor’s Health Equity Council has released a list of 20 recommendations aimed at addressing health disparities in the state. 

The recommendations, released yesterday as an executive summary ahead of its full report, are organized into the following categories: health and community services; education and housing; taxes, wages and wealth; justice; and governance. 

Along with backing previous suggestions from state task forces on broadband and climate change, other recommendations include: providing health services for immigrant populations; offering reimbursement for various dental health and community health services through the state’s Medicaid program; providing tuition waivers for members of tribal nations; boosting Wisconsin’s minimum wage; expanding eligibility for the state’s earned income tax credit; creating an Interagency Council on Transgender Health and Safety and more. 

“These proposals, if enacted, will have significant positive effects on our ability as a state to combat historic and pervasive health disparities across race, economic status, education, geographic location, and history of incarceration,” said council Chairperson Gina Green-Davis, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. 

The council is also urging the state to “make permanent the work and purpose of the Governor’s Health Equity Council,” by creating an advisory body to the Department of Health Service’s Office of Health Equity, establishing the council in state statute or other methods. 

Gov. Tony Evers created the council in March 2019 through an executive order, tasking members with improving health outcomes in the state with a comprehensive strategy taking into account “all determinants of health.” 

The council’s recommendations were released as it shifts to drafting its final report, slated for release early this summer. 

Members include DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, tribal leaders and health officials, health system executives, analysts and advisors to various health entities both public and private, diversity specialists and others. 

See the executive summary: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p03236.pdf 

See the release: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/050222.htm 

See Evers’ executive order: https://evers.wi.gov/Pages/Newsroom/Executive%20Orders/EO%20017%20Relating%20to%20creating%20the%20health%20equity%20council%20-%20Copy.pdf 

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# Central Wisconsin business groups say worker shortage is a dire threat to region


# 1,000 workers go on strike at CNH Industrial equipment maker


# With supply chain costs up $82 million in Q1, Harley still expects improvements in second half



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– New Milwaukee CBD bakery wins Project Pitch It $10,000 prize


– 1,000 workers go on strike at CNH Industrial equipment maker

– Case/CNH Industrial employees in Racine and Mount Pleasant are on strike



– Dane County sues makers of firefighting foam over airport PFAS contamination



– Wisconsin manufacturers express cautious optimism about the future, survey shows


– Milwaukee shoe manufacturer Anodyne sells majority stake of company


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<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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