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(Rock County, WI)

According to the quarterly release of the 2015 Rock Ready Index, Rock County’s economy ended the year strong. Highlights from the Q4 report include the following:

Unemployment Rates, as measured by annual averages, remained at their lowest levels in 10 years. From their peak annual average rate of 12.5% in 2009, 2015’s rates represent nearly a 7.5% reduction. Job postings, which have exceeded 20,000 for 11 out the last 16 quarters, continued to exhibit typical Q4 characteristics. In addition to an active job market, wage rates have continued to rise – as evidenced by a Top 5 national recognition for the Janesville-Beloit MSA by Milken Institute’s Best Performing (Small) Cities Rankings.
 
These gains are helping to fuel the area’s residential market, where average sale prices and the number of residential sales throughout Rock County continued to rise in 2015. For example, Q4 2015’s price points and transactions reached their highest Q4 levels in nine years at $135,263 and 458, respectively. Home building activities, as measured by the number of new single family permits issued, are beginning to move upward too. In YR 2015, there were 160 permits issued – which is the highest recording of (new) single family permits during the last six years. 
 
Another measure of the local economy is the County’s sales tax collections. Q4 2015’s collections of $3.2 Million helped the year-end figures exceed $12 Million for the first time in the County’s history. If there’s any doubt regarding the impact of these collections, simply take a drive along any number of the County’s most active commercial and/or retail corridors. In short, 2015’s sales tax collections were 4% higher than 2014 and an 18% jump from 2008.

Energy consumption, as measured by the number of meters and usage, continued to exhibit economic and weather related pressures. The good news is that demand remains steady, across a range of use classifications.
 
Lastly, there were a number of large-scale economic development projects announced during Q4 2015. These projects represented the following sectors: aviation, healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, real estate and technology. Aggregate impacts for the entire year included: over $300 Million in new capital investment; nearly 2.5 MM SF in new or repurposed commercial / industrial space; and a commitment to create 1,200 new full-time jobs.
 
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 Energy Consumption (Meters & Usage). Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project specific news during a given quarter.


For additional information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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