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First Business Economic Survey Cross-regional Report Shows Strong Business Performance In 2015 Optimism For 2016

MADISON, WI, – Jan. 21, 2016 – The Cross Regional Report results of the 13th annual First Business Economic Survey were released today. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in Dane County, the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, and Northeast Wisconsin. The survey focuses on the current year’s actual and next year’s predicted: sales revenue, total operating costs, capital expenditures, profitability, number of employee, changes in wages, and changes in pricing.

First Business has annually underwritten the survey to help business owners achieve a broad based and up-to-date understanding of the local business climate, which includes information that can be utilized in planning for the
coming year.

Overall, results were strongly positive across regions:

  • 32% of Dane County and Milwaukee Region businesses report performance exceeding expectations; the number of 29% for Northeast and 22% for Kenosha/Racine/Walworth Co
  • 72% of Dane County and Milwaukee Region companies reported increased sales in 2015; 58% of Northeast and 52% of Kenosha/Racine/Walworth Co companies also saw sales increase
  • 58% of Milwaukee Region, 52% of Dane County, 49% of Kenosha/Racine/Walworth Co and 46%
  • Northeast companies saw increased profits
  • Increased Sales Efforts, Improved Internal Efficiencies, Increased Marketing Efforts, and Investments in new Talent are the top actions in 2014 that contributed to improved company performance across regions

Improved employment was reported in each region for 2015:

  • Between 70-90% of companies either had an increase or no change in their number of employees in 2015

Overall, businesses in Wisconsin are very optimistic about 2016:

  • Between 78-81% of companies across regions project Sales increases in 2016
  • At least 62% or more companies across regions expect an increase in profits; the highest number is 88% in the Northeast Region
  • Between 70-81% of companies across regions project better overall performance in 2016
  • Hiring and wages are expected to see positive growth

Domestic sales shortfall, Higher Operating Costs, Domestic Competition, Skills Shortage, and Federal Government Regulations were among the top reasons given for worse overall performance across regions.

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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