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First Business Economic Survey Southeast Wisconsin Shoes Positive Outlook For 2016

KENOSHA, WI, – Jan. 19, 2016 – The results of the annual First Business Economic Survey were released today. Each fall, First Business takes the pulse of local businesses through an annual economic survey in Southeast Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee Region, 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.

A summary of the Southeast Wisconsin findings released today includes:

  • 62% of respondents indicated that 2015 either lived up to expectations or was better than expected in terms of overall performance. 98% expect to do the same or better in 2016.
  • In 2015, 44% saw an increase in Actual Sales, but the percentage of respondents who saw a decrease in sales was just 10%.
  • A strong 73% expect an increase in 2016 Projected Profitability, and just 2% expect a decrease in Projected Profitability for 2016.
  • 44% of respondents increased their Actual Number of Employees in 2015, and 41% say their Projected Number of Employees in 2016 will be higher.
  • 68% of respondents expect an increase in Actual Wages in 2016.
  • In 2015, 44% of respondents reported an increase in Actual Capital Expenditures, but those reporting a decrease were at just 10%.
  • The number of respondents who saw Actual Total Operating Cost as a Percentage of Revenue increase in 2015 was at 26%, while 30% expect an increase in 2016.
  • 40% see a Projected Price increase in 2016, while 58% project no pricing change.
  • 37% of respondents reported utilizing more than 90% of operating capacity, and the same percentage utilized between 70-90%.   The remaining 26% utilized less than 70% of operating capacity.

The outlook for 2016 is very positive; projected Sales and Profits are very strong, with hiring expected to continue, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

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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