BMO report cites expanding Wisconsin economy

The Wisconsin economy is expanding at a moderate pace, as manufacturing continues to grind out a modest recovery, while agriculture output is on pace for another solid year, according to the State Monitor report released by BMO Capital Markets Economics.
The Wisconsin business sector remains firmly in expansion territory, according to the report.
Helped by a weak U.S. dollar, Wisconsin exports (both manufactured and non-manufactured) have performed well so far in 2011, up 15 percent year-over-year through August.
"Our commercial customers continue to express optimism in the strength and resiliency of Wisconsin’s economy," said Jeff Ticknor, managing director and head of Diversified Industries, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank.
While the Wisconsin housing market remains weak, with prices down 3.5 percent year-over-year in second quarter, it continues to see much more modest declines than in other parts of the country-prices have dropped a relatively tame 9.6 percent from peak levels. The foreclosure rate was 3.6 percent in second quarter, below the national rate of 4.4 percent and holding steady in the past year, while new foreclosures have started to ease.
"Wisconsin’s diverse economy weathered the recession relatively well," said Robert Kavcic, economist at BMO Capital Markets. "Although job growth has slowed in recent months, the state sports a below-average jobless rate with manufacturing regaining almost half of the jobs lost since the start of the recession, and growth in education and other services remains firm."
Additionally, agriculture is holding firm with 73 percent of corn silage harvested through early October, just slightly below the 5-year average. While mild production is running slightly below year-ago levels through August, higher prices have boosted incomes.
The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at

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