Economy & Business

Business news

Milwaukee will host a home ownership fair Saturday. The goal is to unload many of the foreclosed properties both banks and the city own. City Hall estimates there to be 4,000 such houses. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis learned of potential buyers who view foreclosures as a great business opportunity.

The inaugural Wisconsin Economic Scorecard shows some divisions along party lines about the state of the Wisconsin economy.  Lake Effect's Mitch Teich speaks with Peter Maier, acting director for UW-Milwaukee's Center for Urban Initiatives and Research, which conducted the poll of 545 Wisconsinites, in conjunction with WisBusiness.com and WUWM.

Now that spring is upon us, you will probably see more bicyclists on the road. They’ll join the hard-core riders who brave the elements all year. While nice weather may prompt some people to hop on a two-wheeler, there may be another incentive these days. Bike storeowners in town told WUWM’s LaToya Dennis that four-dollar-plus gasoline prices are also driving business. John Jensen has been in the bike business a long time. He owns Johnson’s Cycle & Fitness on North Avenue in Wauwatosa. He took over the family-owned company about 30 years ago, so he knows plenty.

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO held a pro labor rally in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The event was part of a statewide tour that will end in Madison on Saturday, to mark the one-year anniversary of Governor Walker restricting collective bargaining rights for public workers.

As WUWM’s Bob Bach reports, Wisconsin is at the forefront of retracting public union gains that opponents insist went too far, while the state was once a leader in creating worker protections.

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.

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