Manufacturing and agriculture lead Wisconsin recovery

The Wisconsin economy is expanding at a moderate pace, as manufacturing continues to lead the state’s recovery, while the state’s 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,” the bank reported.  Helped by a weak U.S. dollar, Wisconsin exports have performed well so far in 2011, up 13.4 percent year-over-year.
“Our commercial customers continue to express optimism and confidence in the state’s economic resiliency,” said Jeff Ticknor, managing director and head of Diversified Industries, Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank.
While the housing market remains weak, with prices down 3.0 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, it continues to see much more modest declines than in other parts of the country. Wisconsin home prices have dropped a relatively tame 8.3 percent from peak levels.
The Wisconsin foreclosure rate was 3.5 percent in third 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 Sherry Cooper, chief economist, BMO Financial Group. “Although job growth lost some momentum since mid-year, the state sports a below-average jobless rate and less wounded housing market than in many other parts of the country”
Additionally, Wisconsin agricultural exports were up more than 15 percent year-over-year.

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