WED AM News: Milwaukee area economy slows in July, report shows; Wisconsin could see $14.4M from multi-state JUUL settlement agreement

— The Milwaukee area’s economy slowed in July, according to the latest economic trends report from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. 

The report shows 10 of the 22 economic indicators in July saw improvement over the year. That’s the first time less than half of these data points improved over the year since March 2021, according to Bret Mayborne, economic research vice president for MMAC. 

“While nonfarm jobs continue to post year-over-year gains and the metro area unemployment rate continues to decline, improvements to both indicators have slowed over the course of 2022,” Mayborne said in the report. 

In each of the three previous months, 13 of the report’s indicators were seeing year-over-year improvement, the report shows. They are based on factors such as employment in the region’s top industries, manufacturing workers’ earnings, transportation figures, housing and real estate, and more. 

The report shows the metro Milwaukee area added 10,800 nonfarm jobs over the past 12 months, marking a 1.3 percent increase over the year. That’s below the 1.5 percent average year-over-year increase seen over the first seven months of this year, MMAC notes. And it falls short of the 4 percent national figure for July. 

Still, the report also shows continued recovery in the leisure and hospitality sector, which saw a 7.7 percent increase over the year in July. Six of the region’s 10 major industry sectors gained workers over that period. 

But at the same time, financial activities had a 7.3 percent employment decline — the largest by percentage for this sector in the post-pandemic period, according to MMAC. 

See the full report: 

— The state Department of Justice announced Wisconsin would receive more than $14.4 million from a potential settlement with JUUL Labs that would provide about $440 million to participating states. 

Along with the payments that would be made to states over the next six to 10 years, the e-cigarette manufacturer would also be required to severely limit marketing and sales efforts going forward, according to the DOJ. 

Yesterday’s release from the agency references an “agreement in principle,” as states will be working on the final settlement over the next three to four weeks. It also notes the company will be paying more under a longer timeframe, with the final settlement increasing from $438.5 million to $476.6 million if the payment period is the full 10 years. 

Under the settlement agreement, the company would be restricted from marketing to youth, depicting anyone under age 35 in their advertisements, using cartoons in advertising, public transportation advertising, using paid influencers and more. 

“Targeting youth for e-cigarette sales is appalling,” Attorney General Josh Kau said in the release. “This agreement brings accountability for JUUL’s conduct and prohibits JUUL from engaging in the types of marketing practices it had been using to promote vaping among young people.”

See more details in the release: 

— State health officials have expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to include people with a higher risk of potential future exposure to the virus. 

In a briefing yesterday, Department of Health Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said the majority of vaccine doses have been given through the newer intradermal method, which involves a small dosage given with a shallow injection. 

Because this method requires less of the vaccine, more people can be vaccinated with the state’s existing supply, health officials explained. According to DHS, 3,854 vials of the JYNNEOS vaccine have been made available to Wisconsin. Another 1,760 vials have been allocated to the state but aren’t yet available for ordering. 

Under the newly expanded eligibility, the monkeypox vaccine is now available to a broader range of people, including many members of the LGBTQ community who expect to have multiple or anonymous sex partners. DHS says nearly 98 percent of the state’s 63 cases have occurred in men. 

DHS yesterday also announced eligibility for clinical laboratory personnel who conduct monkeypox testing, research lab workers who directly handle animals or samples contaminated with orthopoxviruses such as monkeypox, and certain health care providers working in sexual health clinics or other facilities caring for patients with sexually transmitted infections. 

Westergaard said some Wisconsin patients infected with monkeypox have been hospitalized for pain management or antiviral treatment, but the majority of cases have been self-managed.

See the release: 

— The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee will meet Thursday on the DHS’ plan to address opioid abuse with the first $31 million the state is receiving from a settlement with three drug distributors and one manufacturer.

An anonymous member of the GOP-run committee earlier this year objected to the DHS plan, requiring the committee to meet and vote on the proposal. That has prompted criticism from the Evers administration and Kaul for the committee delaying approval of how the funds will be used.

Co-chair Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, has said Republicans were working on revisions to the proposal without providing details. The offices of the co-chairs didn’t immediately respond to a request for details on any changes JFC may make to the agency plan.

The money includes $6 million the state received on July 29 and $25 million that is expected to come during 2022.

The DHS plan includes three phases with one for $6 million dedicated to improving access to Narcan, funding a program to distribute fentanyl strips and putting money into substance abuse prevention.

Another includes $11 million to expand prevention, treatment and recovery facilities, while putting $6 million into direct funding for tribal nations. The final phase is $8 million for initiatives such as funding room and board at residential treatment centers.

Wisconsin is expected to receive $410.7 million from the settlement over a 17-year period. Under the settlement, the state will receive $129.9 million, while local governments will receive $280.8.

In calendar year 2023, the state’s allotment is expected to drop to $18.2 million with $8 million to the state and $10.2 million to local governments. 

See the LFB summary of the DHS proposal: 

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— A coalition of paper industry groups in Wisconsin was not selected to receive federal grant funding through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant program. 

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Paper Council-led group was chosen as a finalist for a $500,000 planning grant and submitted an application for the following phase of the competition, outlining how the funds would be used to boost the state’s paper industries. But it wasn’t among the 21 winners announced recently by the Biden administration. 

In a statement, the Wisconsin coalition said: “While we are disappointed that we were not selected to receive this grant, we are very proud of the strong, diverse coalition that we have been able to assemble, and we will continue to work together to create opportunities for the forest products industry and pathways to progress for our rural Wisconsin communities.”

See the release: 

— DATCP has announced another case of the deadly strain of avian flu has been found in the state — the first confirmed case in a domestic flock since May. 

Earlier this year, 23 flocks in 15 Wisconsin counties were found to have cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. All of the infected flocks were depopulated to reduce the spread of the disease, according to DATCP. 

The agency says HPAI has been found in wild birds in the state more recently, while Indiana and Minnesota this week also identified new cases of HPAI in domestic flocks. 

See the release: 

See an earlier related story: 


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– New avian flu case confirmed in Washington County

– State cheese production continues to decline

– Farm machinery restorations rumble to life at annual Rock River Thresheree


– Contractors, owners enter PLA for $100M Potawatomi renovation

– Noise wall installation continues at I-94/894 in Milwaukee County

– Developer indicates when first tenants could move into The Couture

– The Buzz: Construction starts on new chicken chain location in Appleton


– Evers unveils proposed $2B boost to K-12 schools


– Wisconsin expands groups eligible for monkeypox vaccine

– Bear market causes hundreds of millions in losses at area health care systems


– Madison-based biotech firm raises $41.5 million


– Grassroots push forming to demolish the Lake Interchange in downtown Milwaukee


– Single-family housing subdivision plans to go before Menomonee Falls plan commission


– Golf world, state groups share tributes to Herb Kohler following his death


– Stout Motion Capture Studio partners with app designer to animate 3D dance app


– Milwaukee Ballet plans for big story ballets to encourage audiences to return


– Bus Rapid Transit, library, housing drive Madison mayor’s record $368.4 million capital budget


– Editor’s Journal: Herb Kohler’s impact cannot be overstated


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