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December 17, 2013

2013 First Business Economic Survey Cross Regional Report Released

MADISON, WI) – December 17, 2013 – The Cross Regional Report of the 2013 First Business Economic Survey was released today. Each Fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey. The survey focuses on the current year’s actual and next year’s predicted: sales revenue, total operating costs, capital expenditures, profitability, number of employee, changes in wages, and changes in pricing. Results are broken down by geography, and reported to the public in three local forums. After all the results are released, a Cross Regional Report is shared that compares and contrasts the three business markets. 

Executive Summary:
Overall, Dane County businesses performed better than businesses in Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties, and in Northeast Wisconsin in 2013: 

  • 26.3% of Dane County businesses reported exceeding performance, which was the highest among all three regions 
  • Over 55% of businesses in Dane County reported increased sales in 2013, compared to 45.5% in Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties, and 50.7% in Northeast Wisconsin 
  • Over 45% of businesses in Dane County reported increased profitability. Approximately 40% of Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties and Northeast Wisconsin businesses reported increased profitability. 
  • Increased sales efforts, improved internal efficiencies and increased marketing efforts are the top three actions in 2013 that contributed to improved company performance for all three regions

Improved employment was reported in each region for 2013:

  • Most businesses in each region reported no changes or slight increases in headcount
  • Approximately 80% of businesses reported no change or a slight (1-3%) increase in wages for 2013

Overall, businesses in Wisconsin are optimistic about 2014:

  • Approximately 60% of businesses in each region project increased sales revenue and half of businesses in each of the three regions project increased profitability
  • Most businesses in all three regions project better business performance in 2014

Domestic sales shortfall and higher operating cost are the top two reasons for low performance in all three regions:

  • Slow Down in Housing Market and Staffing Issues were among top five reasons for low performance in Milwaukee & Waukesha Counties, though businesses in Dane County and Northeast were less concerned about them.

The First Business Economic Survey is an annual survey sponsored by First Business. 1,248 businesses contributed to the 2013 survey. 

Click here to download the full report issued by the University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Business.

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