County’s Economy Remains Robust

July 30, 2018

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of Janesville-Beloit MSA continues to show strong signs. Highlights from the Q2 report include the following:

The average annual unemployment rate for the county and state remained under four percent for the sixth quarter in a row, while nationally the rate hovered slightly above the four percent mark. Wisconsin, in particular, has the 7th lowest rate nationally. Job postings during the quarter remained equally strong again, as more than 30,000 employment openings were attributed to regional employers. While entry-level positions represent a sizable percentage of these openings, plenty of technical and management-level positions are in high demand throughout the region. For example, this quarter’s Management Occupations postings set a new record with nearly 1,400 job openings. Whether for entry or management level, employers and job seekers alike are reminded to add to their posting and/or application dashboards.

Interested in buying or selling a house? Better have your checkbook stocked and the moving truck ready, because price points and transaction volumes remain strong throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA. As a matter of fact, the Q2 2018 average sale price of $167,881 represented another new area benchmark. A depleted single-family housing stock, coupled with virtually very few multi-family options, has several communities throughout Rock County advancing this topic into an elevated public policy discussion. In addition to tackling the availability issue, policymakers are also confronted with housing affordability and product diversity challenges too. Rising construction material costs and a very lean supply of building trades personnel are contributing to the rental and buying environments, as well.

Although April’s sales & use tax collections were sluggish, May and June rallied to push the quarterly totals to more than $3.28 Million. If 2018’s collections continue to mirror prior years, there is a strong chance the year-end figure could flirt with reaching the $14 Million mark. While 2009 and 2010 generated lean collections, the area’s continual repositioning and revitalization efforts represent one of the primary forces keeping the local cash registers ringing. 

This quarter’s economic development pipeline was populated by large projects, as demonstrated by these aggregate impact figures: representing more than 2 Million SF; accounting for over 1,260 full-time jobs; and totaling $512,500,000 Million dollars of new capital investments. A diverse mixture of manufacturing related projects contributed heavily toward these quarterly figures, which closely resembled a similar trend from the same time period a year ago. The redevelopment activities at the former GM Janesville Assembly Plan, coupled with a recent speculative project announcement and the start of another related project, will boost the Janesville-Beloit MSA’s industrial site and building inventory.

Given the amount of development activities, this quarter’s project profile section highlights select commercial, industrial / warehousing and multi-family projects occurring throughout Rock County. Combined, these projects will keep the building trades community busy throughout the remainder of 2018 and well beyond 2019 too.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline’s growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.