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First Business Economic Survey In Greater Milwaukee Region Shows Record Setting Sales Capital Expenditure For 2015

BROOKFIELD, WI, – Dec. 11, 2015 – The results of the annual First Business Economic Survey were released today at the Key Industries for Wisconsin in 2016 and Beyond in Brookfield, WI. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in the Greater Milwaukee Region, Southeast Wisconsin, Dane County, 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.

“I’m pleased to see this year’s survey reflecting record setting sales and capital expenditures for 2015, and optimism for 2016 driven by improved internal efficiencies, increased marketing efforts, and investing in new talent,” commented Dave Vetta, President & CEO of First Business Bank – Milwaukee. “These are good signs for everyone in the Greater Milwaukee Region.”

A summary of the Greater Milwaukee Wisconsin findings released at the Key Industries for Wisconsin in 2016 and Beyond event includes:

  • 75% of respondents indicated that 2015 either lived up to expectations or was better than expected in terms of overall performance.
  • In 2015, those who saw an increase in Actual Sales were at 72%, tying the precious year’s historic high.  Furthermore, the percentage of respondents who saw a decrease in sales was just 11%, a new historic low.
  • 54% of respondents saw an increase in Actual Profitability in 2015, down from 62%, the previous year’s historic high.
  • 48% of respondents (a new historic high) increased their Actual Number of Employees in 2015.
  • 73% of respondents saw Actual Wages increase in 2015 (a new historic high), and a new historic low 2% reported a decrease in Actual Wages.
  • In 2015, 30% of respondents reported an increase in Actual Capital Expenditures (a significant decrease from the previous year’s historic high 59%), but those reporting a decrease were at a historic low 9%.
  • The number of respondents who saw Actual Total Operating Cost as a Percentage of Revenue increase in 2015 was at 48%.
  • 44% of respondents saw an Actual Pricing increase in 2015, down significantly from the previous year, and most (53%) saw prices remain the same.

The outlook for 2016 is very positive, very slightly below the record-breaking levels observed the previous year.  Projected Sales and Profits are strong, with hiring expected to continue.

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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