Report Shows Continued Growth and Opportunity

October 29, 2019

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA continued its positive growth trends. Highlights from the Q3 2019 report are provided below.

Unemployment rates held firm during the quarter, as the sub-four percent range is where local, state and national rates remained. During the month of September, 34 states had unemployment rates below four percent and 12 states (including Wisconsin) were under three percent. Unless something odd surfaces, the forecasts suggest more of the same for the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, job postings continued to flood the region: as healthcare and logistics-related openings represented more than 40% of the “help wanted signs” during the quarter.

Home prices continued to surge, as new benchmark averages were set during the quarter for both median ($174,653) and average sale ($187,220) prices. The average sale price gains were about three percent higher than the previous quarter and nearly eight percent more than a year ago. When compared to the same time frame in 2017, the current average sale prices are approximately 18% higher. With nearly 200 (new) single-family permits issued in 2019, and various multi-family projects announced, the area’s housing inventory is slowly being restocked.

Sales and use tax collections remained very strong, as Q3 recorded another quarterly record at more than $3.9 Million. As a matter of fact, collections have exceeded the $3.8 Million threshold three times during the last five quarters. If the sales and use tax projections hold true, the year-end totals for 2019 could approach the $15 Million mark.

The activity and investment levels for Q3’s economic development pipeline were extremely robust, as its square footage and job numbers were larger than some of the year-end figures recorded during the last 10 years. Even when factoring the weight carried by two large projects, the Q3 pipeline was well stocked. Not surprisingly, manufacturing and logistics-related projects accounted for the vast majority of the pipeline activity. As a matter of fact, there’s been a consistent and steady increase in the number of distribution, fulfillment and warehousing opportunities in the pipeline since 2015.

With strong headwinds geared toward addressing the county’s multi-family inventory, this quarter’s project profile provides a snapshot of what’s happening on the apartment front. Apartment developments in Beloit, Janesville and Milton are slated to add approximately 700 units into the market by 2024. Meanwhile, townhome and condominium developments are contributing toward this multi-family inventory too. Overall, these developments represent welcomed news for employers and prospective employees –  as housing availability is increasingly playing a more prominent role in talent recruitment strategies.  

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.