Economy & Business

Business news

If you have visited the Public Market in downtown Milwaukee recently, you may have discovered a lively place. Tables filled with customers eating or drinking and others standing in line to purchase items. The Market was not always crowded; in fact at one point it was on the brink of closing. As WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson reports, the trend is a growing one across the country.

Economist Critical of Gov. Walker's Job Claims

Dec 16, 2011

Our series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval draws to a close Friday.

Today, we’re examining how new legislation and a shift in state policies in 2011 have positioned Wisconsin for the future.

In 2010, Gov. Scott Walker ran on a pro-jobs agenda, promising to help create tens of thousands of jobs. He's been struggling to meet his goal.

How has Wisconsin’s business climate fared in 2011? Mark Erhmann is an attorney with Quarles & Brady, LLP in Madison, and the Chairman of the Board of Forward Wisconsin, a non-profit organization created in 1984 to foster economic development in Wisconsin.

In taking office, Scott Walker declared that the state is now open for business. But it’s a mixed bag for business - employment is stagnant at best, and though unemployment has fallen slightly of late, the number of jobs here has declined significantly. We talk with Paul Jadin, the President and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the unit that largely replaced the state’s Department of Commerce this year.

Labor Leader Says Unions Lost Rights, Gained Solidarity

Dec 13, 2011

A local union leader weighs in on how organized labor came out of this historic political year. Sheila Cochran is the Chief Operating Officer and Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series - you can hear much more of their conversation as supplemental audio below.

It was nearly a year ago that Gov. Walker proclaimed - Wisconsin is open for business. In order to re-enforce that message, his administration successfully advanced a number of tax breaks to encourage businesses to hire and even relocate to the state. There was some bipartisan support for the incentives, although Democrats labeled them marginal and later blasted the governor and Republican lawmakers for slashing money from things such as education. Still, Walker maintains Wisconsin is in a much better place with a balanced budget and improved business climate. Is that the case? WUWM’s LaToya Dennis posed the question to Abdur Chowdhury. He’s chair of Marquette University’s Department of Economics.

State of Business

Dec 13, 2011

From the beginning, Gov. Scott Walker said once he took office his focus would be on creating jobs. During the 2010 campaign, he vowed to create 250,000 private sector positions during his first term. To help, he converted the commerce department into a public-private entity called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and instructed it to focus exclusively on fostering business growth, rather than also regulating the private sector. Walker also instituted a number of tax breaks for companies that create jobs here. In this installment of Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the impact the changes are having on business growth. Things are bustling at Cree Ruud Lighting in Sturtevant. Until earlier this year, it had been just Ruud - a firm making commercial and energy efficient lighting. Then, Cree, a company based in North Carolina, specializing in LED lighting bought the Wisconsin operation for $525 million. Construction crews have since broken ground for a gigantic addition.

Metro Area Apartment Construction Booming

Aug 26, 2011

The economic downturn has hit the builders of homes and condominiums hard. Unemployment in the construction trades tops 25 percent. Still, one sector is hot. Large apartment complexes are taking shape, including on the metro Milwaukee landscape.

Despite the sluggish economy, there’s been a slight uptick in restaurant ownership in Milwaukee. The health department reports 1,461 eateries: that’s 26 more than last year and on par with the number before the recession hit. At least one establishment in the Third Ward, south of downtown, appears to be bouncing back. WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson found that some of the ‘new’ establishments are actually recycled restaurants. Entrepreneurs have moved in, believing they possess the formula for success.

Milwaukee's Port at Heart of Commerce, City's Soul

Jan 14, 2011
The History Press

Please note: This interview originally aired Jan. 14, 2011.

While the Port of Milwaukee is not in the heart of the city, it may just be the heart of its commerce.

Joshua Sutton

In this Project Milwaukee segment, WUWM’s Bob Bach interviewed Chris Dresselhuys, Director of Marketing for Palermo’s Pizza in Milwaukee. The company has a 135,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the city's Menomonee Valley. Palermo's Pizza has its roots in a family bakery and restaurant that Italian immigrants, Jack and Zina Fallucca, opened in Milwaukee in the 1960s.

Local Co. Equips Our Food Factories

Nov 18, 2010

For Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate?, we profile a local business with a global reach that manufactures equipment that allows other companies to make food. Chad Lorensen is the Business Development Manager for Schenck AccuRate, a Bulk Solids Metering Technology company making equipment for food manufacturers, located in Whitewater. Mike Karas is the marketing communications manager. They spoke with Stephanie Lecci.

Today, we continue our Project Milwaukee Series: What’s On Our Plate? We’re exploring the impact the food industry has on the local economy. As we reported yesterday, more than 14,000 people in the greater Milwaukee area work for food and beverage manufacturers. But the number grows by thousands, when you include the workforce involved in building machinery for the food industry and moving its products, as well as making them more appealing. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis visited a few local employers that enhance Wisconsin’s food industry. When most people go to the grocery store, they probably don’t give much thought to all the work that goes into making the items on the shelves. I mean really, when was the last time you thought about what went into making your strawberry yogurt the perfect color? Well that’s what Dina Dicks does every day. She works for CHR Hanson in West Allis. The company makes coloring and other food additives. Dina and I met in one of the company lab.

We learn about the present and future of food manufacturing here in the Milwaukee area as part of our Project Milwaukee: What's on Our Plate? series. Shelley Jurewicz is Vice President of Economic Development for the Milwaukee 7. The organization has just issued a report on the Milwaukee region’s food and beverage manufacturing industry.

Southeastern Wisconsin has a diverse food industry, and we hear about why three vastly different companies – Kikkoman Foods, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland, and Wixon - all call the Milwaukee area home.

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