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Entries for July 2019

31

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA remained in a strong position. Highlights from the Q2 2019 report are provided below.

Unemployment rates remained locked at historically low levels, as incremental monthly movements during the first half of the year failed to generate wholesale shifts. As a result, the County and U.S. rates were once again below four percent; and the state rate was slightly below three percent. For the month of June, Wisconsin joined nine other states that recorded rates below three percent. In terms of the Stateline region, the average annual unemployment rates for the Janesville-Beloit MSA in 2019 have consistently tracked about three percentage points lower than the Rockford (IL) MSA. Meanwhile, the number of job postings within the region have consistently been sizable – as more than 35,000 openings were reported during Q2.

Locally, the average sale prices of homes climbed upward to reach new, all-time monthly ($197,511) and quarterly ($182,296) levels. By the year’s midpoint, more than 100 permits were issued for new, single-family homes. Not surprisingly, many of these of permits are from new and/or expanding subdivisions. At the same time, progress was made regarding approvals attributed to the area’s multi-family housing stock – as roughly 400 new units are planned for the market during the next two years.

Sales tax collections remained extremely solid, as Q2 set a new benchmark at more than $3.36 Million. Compared to the same time period a year ago, this current figure represents a 10% increase. Despite Q2 typically representing the leanest collections period, forecasts for the remainder of the year signal a strong finish.

Whether characterized as deceleration or not, the extended economy was showing signs of slowing down, and those impacts were definitely visible in the Q2 economic development pipeline. All three categories of activity – square footage, jobs and capital investments – were not as robust as either the preceding quarter or the same time period a year ago. However, these data points by themselves are not necessarily cause for concern because these same figures were equally lean in both Q4 2018 and Q3 2017.

Zilber Property Group’s (speculative) building investment at the corner of STH 11 West and Beloit Ave, which is already under construction, is the featured project in the Q2 report. This building represents the second Zilber project in Rock County; and another example of market and investor opportunity alignment. Even though this project is advancing without a specific tenant, news of this opportunity is already generating interest.

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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30

(Milton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Nate Rogers was frustrated while looking for a place where he could relocate his small business from his dad’s garage more than 10 years ago. After finally finding a home for his business, Badger State Maintenance, on Gateway Drive in Milton, he decided to help other entrepreneurs avoid the same frustration.

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26

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Development projects are in full swing in Beloit, as the city prepares to make slight changes to its downtown land use plan. To date this year, the city has issued 611 building permits worth $14.87 million in construction value.

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22

(Madison, WI) – On July 10, 2019, the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance approved an overall 8.84% rate decrease for worker's compensation premiums for businesses, effective Oct. 1, 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year in which worker's compensation rates have declined in Wisconsin, following a 6.03% decrease in 2018, an 8.46% decrease in 2017, and a 3.19% decrease in 2016. The latest reduction in premiums is expected to result in an annual savings of about $173 million for Wisconsin employers.

"Wisconsin has long been regarded as a national model for its smart, effective worker's compensation program, and our state's proactive approach to occupational safety and risk reduction is key to the program's success," Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman said. "Workplace safety takes strong partnerships between employers, workers, training providers and other stakeholders, and in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have so many entities working cooperatively on this front."

Worker's compensation rates are adjusted annually by a committee from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB). The committee analyzes and submits a rate recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) for final approval. While the overall rate will decrease by 8.84%, the impact will vary based on type of work performed.

"I am pleased to see another significant decrease in Worker’s Compensation rates going into 2020,” Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Mark Afable said. “The frequency of workplace injuries has been trending downward, which is a major driver of the rate reductions. This is definitely good news for Wisconsin businesses and workers.”

DWD's Worker's Compensation (WC) Division administers the state's WC program through a collaboration with WCRB, OCI, Self-Insurers Council and the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council, which is comprised of representatives from management and labor and recommends WC law changes.

Most employers in Wisconsin are legally required to have Worker's Compensation insurance policies. Customers with questions about the law may contact DWD's Worker's Compensation Division by calling 608-266-1340 or visiting the DWD website

For questions about the rate development process, contact the WCRB .

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20

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette            

The Rock County 4-H Fair will open its gates Tuesday for another year of animal judging, carnival rides, music and other assorted entertainment.

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17

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes announced Tuesday construction on its Beloit production facility expansion is complete.

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17

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News         

After five years of the Guzman Family owning Piggly Wiggly in Beloit, the family is ready to open a new business next door – Dulce Vida, which means sweet life in Spanish.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Consider: For every 1% decline in unemployment, community and technical college enrollment drops 2% to 2.5%. It’s a statistic that applies to schools across the country, and it has been tested repeatedly and proven true. But for the past several years, enrollment at Blackhawk Technical College has crept up.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

After a handful of unanimous 6-0 approvals, including $7.6 million in incentives and a separate city-funded road project, Janesville will soon have 260 new market-rate apartments on the city’s southeast side.

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5.0 UPDATES

For additional Rock County 5.0 information, click on the listings below and/or send an email to info@rockcounty5.com

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