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Nearly 70% of Northeast Wisconsin Business Leaders Met or Exceeded Goals in 2018

APPLETON, WI JAN. 23, 2019 – Amid ongoing market fluctuations and international trade questions, 68% of Northeast Wisconsin business leaders reported meeting or exceeding their goals in 2018 in the annual First Business Bank Economic Survey of Northeastern Wisconsin.

Results of the annual First Business Bank Economic Survey of Northeast Wisconsin were released today at the Local Economic Trends – Northeast Wisconsin event presented by First Business Bank at the Butte des Morts Country Club in Appleton, 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.

“It was a great year for businesses in Northeast Wisconsin,” says Rick Hearden, President – Northeast Wisconsin Market of First Business Bank. “Of particular note is a record-breaking sales increase in 2018, and it speaks volumes to me that 94 percent of survey respondents expect the same or better performance in 2019.”

Leading the results, survey respondents reported a historic high sales increase in 2018 — 80% of respondents reported an actual sales increase, up from 62% the previous year. The 2019 outlook is for yet another optimistic year. Increases in profits and hiring predictions hit new high percentages, and 78% project improvement in business performance overall in 2019 – a two-point increase over the 2017 prediction for 2018. Hiring and wage projections for 2019 show even greater predicted increases.

A summary of the Northeast Wisconsin findings presented at today’s event include:

  • Record-breaking sales and profitability performance in 2018
  • 80% report actual sales revenue increase in 2018 – up from 62% in 2017
  • 49% report increasing the number of employees at their businesses in 2018
  • 63% say wages increased, down 12 percentage points from 2017
  • 55% report increased profitability — a new historic high
  • The outlook for 2019 is positive, with 94% of companies expecting improved or unchanged performance.

 

Download the full First Business Bank Economic Survey Report for Northeast Wisconsin at 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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