Fast Start for County’s Economy

April 30, 2018

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of Janesville-Beloit MSA kicked-off the new year in a positive manner – as the momentum from 2017 definitely carried over into the beginning of 2018. Highlights from the Q1 report include the following:

For the seventh quarter in a row, the average annual Unemployment Rates for the County / State / U.S. remained below five percent. As a matter of fact, rates are approaching and/or hovering at historically low levels. This same trend exists in the staffing environment too, as regional job openings (again) reached over 30,000 for the seventh consecutive quarter. Although the majority of these postings consistently represent certain occupational categories, the overall hyper-competitive nature of the employment scene is universally creating challenges for non-and-for profit organizations alike. In response, collaborative offerings – such as the Rock Internship Program – are emerging as resources that employers can leverage to augment their recruitment / retention strategies.

Housing prices for Q1 2018 established a new benchmark, with an average sale price of $165,406. This is the highest quarterly average price point recorded by the County and it represents more than an 18% gain when compared to last year’s Q1 data. Despite the area’s uncooperative weather, which held back the arrival of spring conditions, more than 50 residential permits were issued countywide. 

The County’s Sales & Use Tax collections remained solid, effectively matching last year’s record setting pace of $3.2 Million dollars. Although the second quarter of the year historically lags somewhat behind, the latter half of the year definitely makes up that ground and much more. Therefore, there’s a strong chance that year-end collections for 2018 will reach closer toward reaching the $14 Million dollars mark. 

Industry sector diversification and variable project sizes were definitely well-represented in the Q1 2018 Economic Development Pipeline. Combined, these projects accounted for nearly 1.4 Million SF; over 700 full-time jobs; and about $163,000,000 Million dollars of new capital investment commitments. While these figures are different from last year’s aggressive start, there are ample development and investment opportunities stocking the pipeline. That’s why maintaining an adequate supply of available properties, representing existing product as well as land for new vertical development, creates a strategic advantage. Simply stated, more product equals more transactions. 

This quarter’s featured project is United Alloy, Inc. (UAI), which announced a large expansion at the company’s Janesville facility. During the last two decades, UAI has expanded several times and this current expansion – totaling over 100,000 SF – will be even more visible from the Interstate, as an elevated conveyor system will facilitate product movement from one UAI building into another.

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.

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