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December 08, 2016

First Business Economic Survey of the Greater Milwaukee Region Shows Record Highs in Profitability and Hiring for 2016

BROOKFIELD, WI, December 8, 2016 – The results of the annual First Business Economic Survey were released today at the Key Industries for Wisconsin in 2017 and Beyond in Brookfield, WI. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, Dane County, 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 employee, 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.  

"I’m pleased to see this year’s survey reflecting record setting profitability and hiring for 2016, and optimism for 2017 driven by increases in projected sales, profits, and hiring," commented Dave Vetta, President & CEO of First Business Bank – Milwaukee. “These are good signs for everyone in the Greater Milwaukee Region.”

A summary of the Greater Milwaukee Wisconsin findings released at the Key Industries for Wisconsin in 2017 and Beyond event includes:

  • 68% of respondents indicated that 2016 either lived up to expectations or was better than expected in terms of overall performance.
  • 74% of respondents expect performance to improve further in 2017.
  • In 2016, those who saw an increase in Actual Sales were at 66%. At the same time, 82%—a new historic high—expect an increase in Projected Sales Revenue for 2017.
  • Actual Profitability was at a historic high in 2016, with 62% recording an increase. Furthermore, a new historic high of 73% expect an increase in 2017 Projected Profitability.
  • Another historic high, 51% of respondents increased their Actual Number of Employees in 2016, and 56% expect their Projected Number of Employees to increase further in 2017 (up from 48% the previous year).
  • In 2016 67% of respondents saw an increase in Actual Wages (down from the previous year’s historic high 73%) a historic low 2% reported a decrease in Actual Wages.
  • 39% of respondents reported an increase in Actual Capital Expenditures, but just 14% reported a decrease.
  • The number of respondents who saw an increase in Actual Total Operating Cost as a Percentage of Revenue in 2016 was 38%, (continuing a decreasing trend).
  • 44% of respondents saw an Actual Pricing increase in 2016, while 53% saw prices remain the same.

The outlook for 2017 is optimistic, 75% of respondents project an improvement in overall business performance for 2017. Projected Sales, Profits, and Hiring are all at new historic high levels.

Download the full First Business Economic Survey Report for Greater Milwaukee Wisconsin at: www.firstbusiness.com/survey.

About First Business
First Business Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBIZ) is a Wisconsin-based bank holding company, focused on the unique needs of businesses, business executives, and high net worth individuals. First Business offers commercial banking, specialty finance, and private wealth management solutions, and because of its niche focus, is able to provide its clients with unmatched expertise, accessibility, and responsiveness. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com or call 608-792-1400.

Member FDIC, First Business Bank – Milwaukee is located at 18500 W. Corporate Drive, Brookfield, WI 53045. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com or call 262-792-1400.

The First Business logo is available at http://www.firstbusiness.com/logo/ .

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