MADISON – Wisconsin businesses are growing jobs right here at home buoyed by an improved business climate, a new WMC CEO survey found.
The WMC Economic Outlook Survey conducted in early May, found that 51 percent of WMC members say they will be expanding in Wisconsin in the next two years. That is the greatest percentage of WMC members reporting in-state expansion in more than a decade. It also dwarfs the 18 percent who said they will be expanding in another state or nation in the same period.
An astounding 95 percent of CEOs surveyed said the state is headed in the right direction.
“Wisconsin businesses are creating jobs close to home for our families,” said Kurt R. Bauer, WMC President/CEO. “Our business climate is improving.Executives are confident about the direction of our state and they are investing in their businesses, creating jobs, and raising wages. Our state is headed in the right direction.”
WMC surveyed 1,214 CEOs online in early May and 182 responded.
Some of the job creation will be in the next six months, with 62 percent reporting they will be creating jobs through the end of the year.
“Businesses in our state clearly are responding to an improved business climate brought about by tax cuts, regulation relief and lawsuit reform passed at the Capitol in the last two years,” Bauer said. “Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is below the national average. Job creation is up, and we are at the vanguard of an economic recovery that is built on the principals of limited government and sustainable spending. The business community is responding with jobs for our families.”
WMC Economic Outlook Survey June 2012 Highlights
WAGES INCREASES PREDICTED – Some 62 percent surveyed predicted wage hikes from 2.1 percent to 3.5 percent this year, with 31 percent saying they would see wage hikes of 3 to 3.5 percent.
TOP ISSUE FOR WISCONSIN BUSINESSES– While optimism is strong, the national economic slowdown continues to vex Wisconsin employers. More than 35 percent say the economic slowdown is the top problem for the state and their own company.
HOW TO IMPROVE BUSINESS CLIMATE – While business executives are positive about the direction of the state, they report that the state needs to be “be more pro-business in general” in order to help individual businesses and the business climate as a whole. More than 30 percent said the state needs to be “more pro-business in general.” Cutting taxes and regulation were also cited as needed for improving the business climate.
BUSINESS EXPANSION – Some 73 percent predicted moderate to good growth in their own companies.
STATE ECONOMIC EXPANSION – More than 73 percent said they state’s economy will expand at a moderate to good rate, but 69 percent said they growth would be moderate.
NATIONAL ECONOMY LAGS – Only 44 percent predicted moderate to good growth for the national economy, and 50 percent said the national economy will remain flat.
EXPORTS REMAIN STRONG – Some 49 percent reported that they export products, with 43 percent reporting that exports are up to 25 percent of their business. Exports are up dramatically from a low of 24 percent in 2009. And, 31 percent predicted an increase in exports in the next year.
HIRING TROUBLES – More than 56 percent reported having troubling hiring workers, with 61 percent saying there is a lack of qualified applicants.
STATE GOVERNMENT PRO-BUSINESS – More than 80 percent said Wisconsin state government is pro-business, with 39 percent reporting the state is now very pro-business. That’s up dramatically from June 2010, when only 7 percent of WMC members reported the state was pro-business.
Recently, CEO Magazine reported that Wisconsin’s business climate had improved to 20th best in the nation, up from 41st only two years ago.
“The word is out from Main Street to Wall Street that Wisconsin is the place to create jobs and expand a business,” Bauer said.