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Entries for April 2021

29

(Evansville, WI) The U.S. International Trade Commission recently issued a ruling that favored American chassis producers over foreign competitors. A coalition of U.S. chassis manufacturers, lead by Stoughton Trailers, successfully argued to the federal government the pricing (i.e. duties) and related (trade) practices associated with Chinese chassis were causing economic injuries. The government agreed; and its ruling is now facilitating a significant production ramp-up at the Stoughton Trailers’ Evansville Plant. As a result, hundreds of full-time 1st and 2nd shift employees will be hired to meet the company’s growing production needs. For additional information, visit www.StoughtonTrailers.com

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29

(Rock County, WI) According to a new emerging housing markets index, the Janesville-Beloit MSA stacks-up competitively among U.S. metropolitan areas. This index, which represents a collaborative research project between the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com, measured a number of socio-economic statistics ranging from real estate supply/demand and pricing to wages and commute times. Based on these calculations, the overall composite score for the Janesville-Beloit MSA landed it on the 35th spot out of a total of 300 metro areas. 

Wisconsin’s metro areas were well represented in the index, as five of the top 50 rankings were held by Badger locations. In addition to Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana were the other Midwestern states with metro areas ranked in that grouping.

Since the Great Recession, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy has increasingly earned its way onto a number a national rankings – including but not limited to representation on such indices as the Best Performing (Small Cities) and Hottest Housing Market, Best Places for Manufacturing Jobs, etc. A growing and diversifying economy, coupled with favorable quality of life standards and a strong commitment to public/private partnerships, is the fuel that continues to propel the Janesville-Beloit MSA into these national rankings. To learn more about this fuel, visit the Media Room section online at www.RockCountyAlliance.com and make sure to follow the Rock Ready Index: the area’s leading economic dashboard report.

 

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27
(Rock County, WI) The Janesville-Beloit MSA economy is off to a brisk start, signaling that 2021 is projected to keep pace with – if not exceed – Rock County’s development and growth profile. These trends are highlighted in today’s release of the Q1 2021 Rock Ready Index, the area's leading economic dashboard report.

The annual average unemployment rate for the county, state, and the nation for Q1 was about two percentage points lower than the figures recorded from the last quarter of 2020. While Rock County’s rate of 5.2% was slightly higher than most of its WI metropolitan counterparts, this uptick was linked to the number of residents working in IL – particularly in the Rockford MSA, which had an average unemployment rate of 9.7% during Q1.

During this same time frame, the number of job postings for the region approached 48,000 and nearly 60% of those postings were for jobs in Rock County. Speaking of Jobs in Rock County (www.jobsinrockcounty.com), this one-stop employment portal averaged over 400 job postings - from entry to management / executive level - each month during Q1. As a result, more than 35,000-page views were conducted by job seekers visiting that site.

Housing prices continued their upward movement, as Q1 set another record for Average Sale ($205,085) and Median Sale (186,650) prices, respectively. From a sales perspective, the number of transactions during Q1 were trending more than six percent higher than what was recorded in last year’s first quarter. This figure mirrors the same pace as Wisconsin’s statewide home sales, as well.

The County’s sales and use tax collections posted another strong period ($3.98 million), which established a new quarterly record. While observers will automatically point the finger at the federal stimulus checks as the driving force, collections have exceeded the $3.7 million threshold six times out of the last nine quarters. Since collections are historically the strongest during the second half of the year, it’s too early to forecast whether the County’s year-end collections will be able to match or exceed the $15.9 million mark from 2020.

Despite various wonky factors, the economic development pipeline remained stacked with different investment opportunities. While food processing dominated, manufacturing represented 75% of the overall activity level within the pipeline. This industry sector concentration wasn’t a total surprise, as the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for Q1 2021 averaged 61.4%, which was more than 11% higher than its 2020 counterpart. A PMI reading of 50% or more serves as an industrial expansion indicator. Since this pent-up manufacturing demand is surfacing throughout the U.S., industrial vacancy rates are below five percent nationally and even lower in the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

In response to this appetite and related absorption of industrial and/or warehousing space within the region, investors such as Zilber Property Group (ZPG) have firmly planted their flag in the Janesville-Beloit MSA. As a matter of fact, ZPG’s recent announcement that it will be adding 356,000 SF to its Rock County holdings speaks directly to the volume of market activity. Additional details about the ZPG project are highlighted in this report. 

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter. For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

 

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26

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit native Jay Edwards is a man driven by a passion for helping build up area communities by supporting young entrepreneurs. The founder of Innovate Culture will host a free business networking event on Thursday in Beloit to highlight economic growth through innovation.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

There’s more than one way to start life after high school graduation. That’s what First National Bank and Trust teller Jesus “Manny” Jurado, the son of Jorge and Julia Jurado, said he has learned. He is working full time as a teller following a paid part-time apprenticeship with plans to become an accountant.

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20

(Rock County, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Rock County is shaping up to become a global hearth for nuclear medicine, and the time when that will occur is fast approaching. In separate developments, Beloit nuclear medicine producer NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and its competitor, Janesville-based SHINE Medical Technologies, both announced they plan to go live with nuclear radioisotope production in Rock County around the end of 2022.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Beloit City Council on Monday approved a conditional use permit tied to the redevelopment of the former Shopko building into a large, self-storage facility.

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18

(Newville, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Sixty-two homes are planned for the Newville Trails subdivision, located on 39 acres of mostly farm fields just west of the Lake Woods subdivision, according to Rock County planning documents.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Kwik Trip has unveiled plans to build a 10,000-square-foot gas station and convenience store on a commercial lot at 1030 N. Wright Road, near the intersection with East Milwaukee Street.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Cedar Crest retirement community is finally expanding after a year in which it earned city approval and waited out the coronavirus pandemic.

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01

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Every day since last March, Lisa Wedel has been in charge of circulating a mobile library at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Students have taken advantage of the focus on reading. The school’s first- and third-graders recently placed first in a nationwide accelerated reading challenge.

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