First Business

December 16, 2010

Highlights of Northeast Wisconsin Economic Results Released

(APPLETON, WI) - December 16, 2010 - Key findings of the 2010 First Business Economic Survey of Northeast Wisconsin, which was conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research in September and October of 2010, indicate businesses saw increased sales revenues and improved profits in 2010. Northeast Wisconsin businesses are optimistic and project this upswing to continue into 2011.

Key Findings for 2010:

  • The percentage of firms reporting increased sales revenues jumped from 20% to 50% in 2010 and the percentage of firms reporting increased profitability increased 12.5% to approximately 45%.

  • As more businesses are reporting increased profitability, internal operations are improving with increased capital expenditures and job growth.

  • Approximately 77% of businesses had unchanged or increased spending on capital expenditures in 2010, up from 62% in 2009.
  • Similarly, over 75% of businesses indicated maintaining or increasing the number of employees in 2010 compared to 58% in 2009.
  • Although many key indicators are up from 2009, they do not exceed the pre-recession levels reported in 2008.

  • Almost 43% of businesses did not meet their self-imposed expectations in 2010. Both sales revenue and profitability decreased by approximately 40% of Northeast Wisconsin businesses in 2010.

  • On top of these difficulties, 43% of businesses reported increased wage costs and 48% reported increased operating costs as a percent of revenue.
  • Businesses self-reporting into the manufacturing industry reported the biggest change in performance year-over-year. Approximately 68% of manufacturing firms reported increased sales in 2010 compared to 17% in 2009. Profitability increased for 49% of manufacturing firms compared to 30% in 2009. As a result of increased performance, 37.5% of manufacturing firms reported an increased in employees in 2010 compared to 13% in 2009.
  • Businesses reported high capacity utilization, with 80% of businesses reporting that they are operating at 70% capacity or higher.


  • This is the third year this study has been conducted. The 2010 First Business Economic Survey of Northeast Wisconsin survey was sent to 6,711 local businesses via email (3,000) and postcards (3,711); not for profit businesses and government agencies were not included in the survey. Of those, there were a total of approximately 163 valid online responses that adequately responded to questions pertaining to the key economic indicators. This equates to a response rate of approximately 5.43%. There were a total of approximately 286 valid online responses for mailed surveys which equates to a response rate of approximately 7.7%. This survey sample size has an error range of 0.05 and is at the 95 % confidence level. For the purposes of this report, Northeast Wisconsin is the 18 county region of Northeast Wisconsin, commonly referred to as New North. The counties include Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee, and Waushara.

    View a live webcast at 4pm today www.insightonbusiness.com.

    About First Business Financial Services, Inc.

    First Business Financial Services (Nasdaq:FBIZ) is a $1.3 billion Wisconsin-based bank holding company that specializes in focused financial solutions for businesses, key executives, and high net worth individuals through its operating companies. It is the 2nd largest Wisconsin-based commercial bank holding company listed on NASDAQ or the NYSE. Its companies include: First Business Bank - Madison; First Business Bank - Milwaukee; First Business Bank - Northeast; First Business Trust & Investments; First Business Equipment Finance, LLC; and First Business Capital Corp. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com or call (608) 238-8008.

    The First Business Financial Services, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2667

    Contact:
    Jodie Johnson
    AVP - Marketing
    First Business Financial Services, Inc.
    608-358-6289
    Email