PNC economists forecast ‘slow and steady’ growth for Milwaukee in 2013

The Milwaukee area economy was mostly flat in 2012 but is poised for “slow and steady” improvement in 2013, according to a new regional report by PNC Bank economists.

“Milwaukee saw little net improvement in its economic condition through 2012. Recovery momentum that had built through 2011 stalled as the U.S. economy failed to gain traction and provide business demand for the market area’s output,” the report stated. “But after a mid-year rise in the unemployment rate, labor market conditions have stabilized in the wake of election year uncertainty. 2013 promises a return to slow and steady improvement in Milwaukee’s economy. Incomes are still rising with inflation contained, and nationally, household finances are much improved from the debt-heavy state that contributed to the economy’s collapse into recession. With calmer waters on the housing and political fronts setting the tone in the coming year, consumer spending should build momentum, and businesses should resume the types of investment that will help to rebuild Milwaukee’s employment ranks.”

Milwaukee has diversified its economy in recent years, the report cited.

“But despite having made progress toward a more balanced industrial base, Milwaukee’s economy only truly thrives when the nation’s economy is hitting on all cylinders and is providing ample demand for its goods and services. Local recovery in housing and in terms of household balance sheets will lag the national improvements that are already underway. But on balance, a more rapidly improving U.S. economy in the coming year will help to move local conditions in Milwaukee in the right direction, setting the stage for sustainable growth in the market area in the coming years,” the report stated.

The PNC report forecasts the Milwaukee market’s employment to grow 0.9 percent in 2013, while median household income will grow to $53,400 from this year’s $52,400, and the report projects a 2-perent increase in home prices in the metro area.

 

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