Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remained stable at 4.5% in March, down 0.1 percentage points (pp) from February, where it had remained unchanged for over a year. The 4.5% unemployment rate for Wisconsin remains lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.0%. The latest National Manpower Employment Outlook survey once again indicates positive prospects for job growth. Employers nationally included in the survey indicated that 22% are expecting hiring to increase in the Q2 of 2016. Locally, the outlook is consistently upbeat: 26% of those surveyed expect to increase staff levels in the second quarter of 2016. The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis market scored a 23% net employment outlook, a decrease from 28% from the second quarter of 2015. The net employment outlook is measured by percentage of plan hires offset by percentage of plan reduction in payroll.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Report on Manufacturing scored Wisconsin and Northern Illinois at 57.78 for March 2016, the highest reading since November 2014. A score in excess of 50 demonstrates growth as a measure of new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories in the manufacturing industry. The purchasing managers’ index has been positive for three straight months following nine months of contraction. Of those surveyed, 44% expect positive conditions in the next six months, while only 11% anticipate conditions to worsen.


q1 16 Milwaukee Industrial


For the 23rd consecutive quarter, the Milwaukee industrial market experienced positive overall absorption, with 885,374 square feet (sf) absorbed in the first quarter. This total represents a

sharp increase compared to Q4, when just over 540,000 sf was absorbed. Waukesha County captured the majority of quarterly absorption, posting 691,270 sf absorbed. Most of this absorption was the result of C.H. Coakley and Milwaukee Sting Volleyball occupying the former Kohl’s Distribution facility. The overall vacancy rate remained stable, with Q1 remaining unchanged at 4.7%, marking a 0.09-pp decrease year-over-year.

Industrial Overall



The Southeastern Wisconsin industrial market started off 2016 by again positing positive figures even as more product comes to market. Although manufacturers reported positive outlooks, the sector lost 1,700 manufacturing jobs in February. Expect the industry to remain cautiously optimistic, especially as we approach the November elections.

To download this report and view past Milwaukee MarketBeat reports for both Industrial and Office, head over to our Research page.

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