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2018 Ranks Most Positive in a Decade for Greater Milwaukee Businesses  

MILWAUKEE, WI  Dec. 13, 2018 – Amid ongoing market fluctuations and international trade questions, Greater Milwaukee business leaders reported record-breaking performance in 2018 and record-high predictions for 2019 in the annual First Business Bank Economic Survey.

Results of the 10th annual First Business Bank Economic Survey of Greater Milwaukee were released today at the Key Industries for Wisconsin in 2019 and Beyond event presented by the Waukesha County Business Alliance in partnership with Founding Sponsor First Business Bank in Pewaukee, Wis. Each fall, First Business Bank surveys local business leaders in Greater Milwaukee, Dane County, and Northeast Wisconsin. This year’s survey also included Kansas City for the first time.

The survey focuses on the current year’s actual and next year’s predicted: sales revenue, total operating costs, capital expenditures, profitability, number of employees, changes in wages, and changes in pricing. First Business Bank underwrites the survey to help business owners plan for the coming year.

“Our local business community continues to knock performance out of the park,” says Mike Flynn, President – Milwaukee Region of First Business Bank. “We thought last year was impressive – comparatively, 77% of business leaders told us in 2017 they predicted improved performance in 2018. This year, though, that number increased nine points to 86% for 2019, and another 12% expect no change in performance from 2018 to 2019. Worth mentioning, too, is the 17-point increase in actual sales increase for 2018 over last year. I’m very impressed and energized by local business performance and the outlook for 2019.”

Results show 2018 is the most positive year in the 10-year history of the First Business Bank Economic Survey in Greater Milwaukee. Leading the results with an 11-point increase over last year, 40% of survey respondents indicate that 2018 exceeded their predictions.

The 2019 outlook is for yet another highly optimistic year. Increases in profits and hiring predictions hit new high percentages, and 86% project improvement in business performance overall in 2019 – a nine-point increase over the 2017 prediction for 2018. Hiring and wages, perhaps partially fueled by Foxconn, hit new high levels in 2018, and projections for 2019 show even greater increases.

A summary of the Greater Milwaukee findings presented at today’s event include:

  • Record-breaking sales and profitability performance in 2018
  • 81% report actual sales revenue increase in 2018 – up from 64% in 2017
  • 60% report increasing the number of employees at their businesses in 2018 – a record increase
  • 86% say wages increased, up four percentage points from 2017
  • 63% report increased profitability — a new historic high
  • The outlook for 2019 is positive, with 98% of companies expecting improved or unchanged performance.

Download the full First Business Bank Economic Survey Report for Greater Milwaukee at www.firstbusiness.com/survey.

 

About First Business
First Business Financial Services is a Wisconsin-based bank holding company, focused on the unique needs of businesses, business executives and high net worth individuals. First Business offers commercial banking, specialty finance and private wealth management solutions, and because of its niche focus, is able to provide its clients with unmatched expertise, accessibility and responsiveness. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com.

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