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December 16, 2016

First Business Economic Survey Cross-Regional Report Shows Strong Business Performance in 2016, Optimism for 2017

MADISON, WI – December 16, 2016 – The Cross Regional Report results of the annual First Business Economic Survey were released today. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in Dane County, the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, and Northeast Wisconsin. The survey focuses on the current year’s actual and next year’s predicted: sales revenue, total operating costs, capital expenditures, profitability, number of employees, changes in wages, and changes in pricing.  

First Business has annually underwritten the survey to help business owners achieve a broad based and up-to-date understanding of the local business climate, which includes information that can be utilized in planning for the coming year.  

Overall, results were strongly positive across regions:

  • 70% of Dane County businesses met or exceeded the overall business performance expectations in 2016, as did 68% of companies in Greater Milwaukee, 67% in the Northeast, and 74% in the Southeast
  • 71% of Dane County companies reported increased sales in 2016; 66% of Greater Milwaukee, 49% of Northeast, and 56% of Kenosha/Racine/Walworth County companies increased sales
  • The Greater Milwaukee Region led the pack with 62% of companies reporting increased               profits; 57% of companies in Dane Co., 46% in Northeast Wisconsin and  47% in the Southeast saw increased profits
  • Increased Sales Efforts, Improved Internal Efficiencies, Increased Marketing Efforts, and Investments in new Talent are the top actions that contributed to improved company performance across regions in 2016
  • Half of all companies in Dane County and Greater Milwaukee hired new employees, followed closely by the Northeast, and wages went up across the board

The outlook is very optimistic for 2017:

  • Between 70-80% of companies across regions project Sales increases in 2017, and projections for profit increases are strong (record-setting in Greater Milwaukee)
  • At least 62% or more companies across regions expect an increase in profits
  • 53-74% of companies across regions project even better overall performance in 2017
  • The outlook for hiring and wages is strong across the board

Download the full Cross Regional Report or any local report for Dane County, the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, or Northeast Wisconsin at www.firstbusiness.com/survey.

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