Northeast Wisconsin businesses fare better than others in state

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

Posted on Jan. 29, 2010

Wisconsin businesses weathered the economic storm of 2009 better than firms in
the Milwaukee and Madison areas, according to a new report from First Business

Last fall,
First Business Bank conducted separate economic surveys of Northeast Wisconsin,
Dane County and Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. While those separate results
were shared with each unique community in December, First Business Bank pooled all the information
together and looked at the state as a whole to compare the economic atmosphere
across the regions.

(To read more
details about First Business Bank’s survey of Northeast Wisconsin, which was
sponsored by Insight Publications and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh,
please see this story from January’s edition of Insight Magazine.)

“The results
show that the three geographic areas surveyed are all quite comparable,” says
Mickey Noone, president – Northeast Region of First Business Bank. "The
Northeast did see lower declines than the other survey regions in sectors such
as profitability and sales revenue which may be attributed to a higher number
of business-to-business firms located in the Northeast."

All three
regions of the state did see declines in all seven economic indicators
including: sales revenue; profitability; total operating costs as a percentage
of revenue; capital expenditures; number of employees; overall wage changes;
changes in pricing; and operating capacity. This is also the first time in the
survey's history a majority, 52 percent, of firms did not meet expectations.
Sales were down overall and respondents that had steep sales declines, greater
than a 10 percent decline, were over double that of the previous year.

But while
2009 was rough, optimism is high for 2010, says Mark Meloy, President and CEO
of First Business Bank – Madison. "Clearly there were challenges in 2009,
but nearly 50 percent of businesses, and higher figures in some regions, expect
increased sales revenue this year. That confidence says a lot about the
character of the states' business owners,” he says.

To read the
entire report, please visit
. An eight-minute podcast highlighting the report results is available at

MaryBeth Matzek