(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 .