Wisconsin’s unemployment rate declined to 5.2% for November, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points (pp) from the prior month and 1.2 pp decrease from a year ago. The 5.2% unemployment rate for Wisconsin is currently the lowest since October of 2008 and remains lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.8%.
According to Forbes magazine’s “Best States for Business”, Wisconsin outranks all other Midwest states for future economic growth, ranking 18th in the nation. Within this report, Wisconin ranks 32nd overall based on the business climate, which measures job, income and gross state product growth forecasts over the next five years from Moody’s Analytics as well as business openings and closings and venture capital investments.
In addition, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, Milwaukee jobs market outlook for the first quarter of 2015 ranks fifth best among metropolitan markets across the U.S. Wisconsin employers project a 24% net employment outlook, an increase of eight percentage-points from the fourth quarter outlook. This also represents a 17% increase year-over-year and eight percentage points higher than the U.S. as a whole, which has a net employment outlook of 16%.
CONTINUED OFFICE MARKET IMPROVEMENT
The Milwaukee office market continues to show improvement as we end 2014. Office fundementals are restoring to pre-recession levels, with construction, leasing and sales activity remaining strong over the past year.
Direct positive absorption has continued for the eighth consecutive quarter, with approximately 85,900 square feet (sf) absorbed in the fourth quarter and 550,865 sf absorbed in 2014. The overall vacancy has crept down, decreasing 0.9 percentage point quarter-over-quarter, decreasing to 18.7%.
In May 2014, the local Milwaukee NBA franchise, The Milwaukee Bucks, was purchased by two New York area investors, Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. With the sale came the announcement that the home team would be in seach of a land site to house the team’s new arena. Within the next quarter, the owners are scheduled to make an announcement as to which location within the central business district they have chosen. This investment in Milwaukee’s entertainment has also helped spur additional development west of the Milwaukee River. Office building conversions into housing developments, including the Posner building, Germania building, and the former Blue Cross Blue Shield building, a new Grand Avenue mall owner, adds to the anticipation of seeing continued revitalization to the area.
Milwaukee is poised for a great 2015 with new developments occurring on all fronts, inclusive of residential and commercial, with activity and interest in Milwaukee on the rise. Although still cautiously optimistic, developers and owners alike are projected to continue to make capital investments into Southeastern Wisconsin.
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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