BMO forecasts 2.6% Wisconsin GDP growth in 2015

BMO Capital Markets Economic Research has forecast 2.6 percent GDP growth in Wisconsin in 2015, up from its estimate of 2.1 percent GDP growth for 2014 and the actual GDP growth of 1.7 percent in 2013.

The information was shared in the new U.S. State Monitor issued by BMO Economics today.

“Business owners in Wisconsin, large and small, continue to express confidence in their business prospects for the future,” said Jeff Ticknor, managing director and head, diversified industries, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank. “We’re seeing that optimism reflected in their growth ambitions and the investments they are making in their businesses.”

BMO expects manufacturing activity to increase in the next year, driven by increased business investment. Since the state jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent in June, its lowest level since October 2008, the employment picture is generally good, BMO said.

“Manufacturing has been one of the softer areas, but we do expect increased business investment to help support both manufacturing and exports in Wisconsin in the coming year,” said Robert Kavcic, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets. “Employment is overall on solid footing, with non-farm payrolls up 1.8 percent in Q2 of this year, right in line with what we are seeing at the national level.”

The Wisconsin housing vacancy and foreclosure rates are both below the median across all other states. And the state’s finances are doing well, with fund spending expected to grow 4.7 percent in fiscal 2014.

“Home prices in the state are on their way up, although not rallying with the same vigor we are seeing in the states that experienced major drops during the downturn,” Kavcic said. “The state’s housing vacancy rate and foreclosure rates are both below the median across all the states, and the months’ supply of homes for sale in Milwaukee is back down to the levels we saw pre-recession.”

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