Wisconsin Economy Continues Slow Expansion - BMO Economics

- Manufacturing continues to add jobs

- Less wounded housing market than in other states

- Construction and real estate employment still sliding

Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 ET from BMO Harris Bank

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wisconsin economy is expanding at a somewhat sluggish pace, and has struggled to gather any sustained momentum given declining factory activity, according to the State Monitor report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics. Real GDP will likely expand 1.2% this year, up marginally from 1.1% registered last year.

Exports growth slowed to 4.2% in Q2, the coolest pace since the end of 2009, as machinery and electronic equipment shipments have leveled off alongside softer global demand. In the meantime, the Milwaukee PMI rebounded in September, but continues to point to contracting factory activity.

"While the economy is growing at a slower pace than expected, our commercial customers continue to express optimism and confidence in the state's economic resiliency," said Jeff Ticknor, Managing Director and Head of Diversified Industries, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank. "Our local expertise, sector knowledge and mid-market focus are real advantages to helping our customers find solutions as they invest and upgrade their businesses".

Wisconsin was not nearly as affected by the housing bubble as many other parts of the country and continues to sport a below-average foreclosure rate of 3.2%. Prices have begun to stabilize, with the index barely below prior-year levels in Q2 alongside stabilizing inventories.

"Wisconsin's fiscal situation remains relatively favorable, with the shortfall at a below-average 11% of budget and a fully-funded pension liability," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group. "Employment has stagnated but the jobless rate remains at 7.3% as of September, well below the national average.

Manufacturing continues to gradually add jobs despite slipping in July, while wholesale trade, education and health care are seeing solid growth. While Wisconsin's housing market was not nearly as hard-hit as other states, construction and real estate employment continues to plunge. 

The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Banksm is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank