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(Rock County, WI)

According to the quarterly release of the 2017 Rock Ready Index, economic momentum continues to move Rock County forward. Highlights from the Q2 report include the following:

For the fourth quarter in a row, the average annual Unemployment Rates for the County / State / U.S. remained below five percent. This same general theme held true for job posting activities too, as regional job openings reached over 30,000 for the fourth consecutive quarter. Once again, employment openings throughout the region were dominated by Healthcare, Transportation & Material Moving and Office & Administrative Support Occupations. With the release of a new statewide internship database, known as WisConnect, employers are encouraged to add this tool – along with Inspire Rock County and Jobs in Rock County – into their portfolio of recruitment resources.

Housing prices for the quarter set another record, with an average sale price of $157,833. When compared to the same time period a year ago, this represents a four percent increase. Meanwhile, the current quarter’s price point was 13% higher than last quarter. During Q2, nearly 75 single-family and condo/duplex residential permits were issued. Strong demand, as well as a depleted stock, are fueling countywide housing activities.

The County’s Sales & Use Tax collections remained solid, albeit not as robust as prior quarters. With nearly $3.2 Million collected, the trajectory for the remainder of the year remains optimistic. This activity, coupled with other variables, are supporting both new and infill retail and/or hospitality projects throughout the County. Case in point: two hotel projects have been announced and indicators suggest another pair of lodging announcements might be following soon.   

The Economic Development (ED) Pipeline, which provides an aggregate snapshot of the industrial / warehousing and select commercial development opportunities expressing an interest in SC WI, the Janesville-Beloit MSA and/or the Stateline area, remained populated by a diverse grouping of value-added projects. Consequently, the volume of investors and end users expressing an interest in building and/or occupying existing space throughout Rock County is strong. As these inquiries hopefully transition into real estate transactions, the area’s available buildings and sites inventory will require restocking.

Speaking of transactions, this quarter’s featured project is Diamond Assets LLC – which announced they are relocating and expanding their operations in Milton’s Crossroads Business Park. Once their 59,000 SF is ready for occupancy, this niche electronics refurbishing and distribution company expects to eventually grow their staffing levels by a factor of two or more.

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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