Northeast Wisconsin Says It Outpaces Rest Of State

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Northeastern Wisconsin’s economic development organization says the region is outpacing the rest of the state and the nation.

The New North is akin to a region-wide Chamber of Commerce.It represents businesses in 17 counties from Sheboygan and Fond du Lac in the South, to Florence and Marinette in the north.

“We’re actually carrying some of the freight for the state’s performance,” says Executive Director Jerry Murphy.

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Murphy says the year end report shows the region’s unemployment rate nearly two percent lower than that of the country as a whole.

Also, he says manufacturing wages are the highest they’ve been since the recession began: now up to 850- dollars per week.But he says the numbers don’t account for the long hours factory workers are putting in.

“It’s a little misleading because what it’s really actually demonstrating is not so much that people are making phenomenal increases in their hourly wages so much as it is a reflection of the amount of overtime that’s being done,” Murphy says.

But, he says, employers and workers can’t maintain that amount of overtime over time.He says companies may start adding jobs.

He also cites a study by UW-Oshosh that says the region ranks well in entrepreneurship.

“You have to be mindful of maintaining a strong economy with the business and industry base that you have but you also have to be focused on growing the next generation, the next technology or the next improved capacity or the next market,” he says.

Now that 2012’s seemingly endless bout of elections is over, Murphy says the next big uncertainty for business is how Congress handles the “fiscal cliff.”

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