MMAC report says metro Milwaukee still lags behind other areas

But region headed in right direction on most indicators

Economic indicators

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:07 am

The metro Milwaukee area is making progress on a number of economic and community indicators, but has experienced a net out-migration over the last five years and lags behind other communities in a number of areas, according to a new report from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Milwaukee Art Museum
The Milwaukee Art Museum

The indicators covered areas including business growth, infrastructure, minority business participation, prosperity for all, quality of life, education, workforce readiness and startups. The area’s performance was measured over time and against other communities.

Overall, Milwaukee was above the median in 16 categories and trailed it in 25. The metro area was moving in the right direction on 21 indicators where a direction was given and heading in the wrong direction on 17.

The report found a net migration out of the area of just over 12,600, a 0.8 percent decrease. Only Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago and a greater percentage decrease in population in a comparison with 20 other large metro areas. Raleigh, N.C., Orlando and San Antonio topped the migration chart, all with gains greater than 5 percent.

“If we don’t do more to attract and retain a high-quality workforce, we will not be able to fill the jobs we have in coming decades,” said Tim Sheehy, MMAC president.

The report indicated one bright spot for the metro area economy was a 4.5 percent increase in real gross metropolitan product per capita from 2009. The area had a real GMP of $90.1 billion in 2014, a per capita figure of $57,279. In 2009, those figures were $84.9 billion and $54,830, respectively. The finding put Milwaukee in the upper half of comparison areas. San Jose, Portland and Minneapolis-St. Paul topped the list, while Orlando, Buffalo and San Antonio were at the bottom.

Milwaukee’s 4.5 percent gain was below the median gain of 7.3 percent.

Read more economic data reports on the BizTracker page.


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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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