The Wisconsin economy as a whole has been stalled with an uneasy feeling of malaise for the past few years. Although continued efforts have been made to climb out of the recession, lackluster employment growth coupled with general economic uncertainty still plagues Wisconsin. Hope can still be found in Wisconsin’s main economic driver, manufacturing. The Institute of Supply Management scores Milwaukee for Q2 2013 at a 51.55, a result showing positive growth, which is an improvement after two consecutive months of contraction. A score over 50 indicates growth as a measure of new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories in the manufacturing industry. While the indices pointed positive, many surveyed point to uneasiness and stagnant sales growth.

Industrial MarketBeat Q2 2013 pic1INCREASED LEASING ACTIVITY

Milwaukee’s industrial market has seen 1.887 million square feet (msf) of leasing activity in the first half of 2013, a 56% increase in activity compared to the first half of 2012. Waukesha County was the most active submarket in the second quarter, with 554,087 sf in signed deals, while Milwaukee County trailed closely behind with 550,195 sf. Each submarket reported increased activity quarter-over-quarter of 103% and 83% respectively.
In addition, Milwaukee industrial posted the twelfth consecutive quarter of positive absorption, posting an additional 992,386 square feet (sf) of absorption in Q2 13, bringing the total year-to-date absorption up to 1.48 msf. Large space absorptions can be attributed to Sendik’s Food Markets absorbing over 208,000 sf on Marcia Road in Milwaukee as well as Quad/Graphics, Inc. absorbing over 205,000 sf in New Berlin off Moorland Road.

Industrial MarketBeat Q2 2013 pic2 OUTLOOK
A recently released report, The Wisconsin Economic Future Study, commissioned by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), indicated manufacturing is the engine that drives the Wisconsin economy. According to the study, 36 of the state’s 37 largest industries remain in manufacturing. Of the top five largest sectors, three are related to paper and printing, an industry that dates back more than a century in the state. With such a large component of Wisconsin’s economy focused on paper, Wisconsin will need to make efforts to capitalize on growth in order to adapt to the ever changing competitive and global marketplace. Wisconsin is taking pro-active steps with lawmakers passing into law a venture capital bill that will invest $75 million in young Wisconsin companies. Although we are said to lag in innovation and technology when compared to much of the nation, hopefully this bill, in addition to the WEDC commissioned report’s findings will spur job creating, entrepreneurial activity in Wisconsin.

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