economy

Chuck Quirmbach

The farmers whose cows supply much of the milk consumed in Wisconsin, or used in products like cheese and yogurt, are having a tough time.

Eight percent, or nearly 700, of the state's dairy farmers left the business last year for economic reasons. A few thousand more farmers got out over the previous five years. Those still at it say being creative is one of the things they have to do to keep going.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy added only 20,000 jobs — far fewer than expected — last month, the Labor Department said Friday. But the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from January's 4 percent, and earnings growth picked up.

The increase in jobs was below the 180,000 projected by private analysts and the smallest gain since September 2017. February's increase was dramatically smaller than January's revised gain of 311,000 and December's revised 227,000.

Chuck Quirmbach

A report issued this week shows jobs in the solar industry in Wisconsin grew by 3 percent in 2018. But the state's largest electric utility, Milwaukee-based We Energies, also hopes more people will consider joining its company. 

The report by The Solar Foundation indicates the U.S. solar industry employed 242,000 people last year. That was down 3 percent nationally.

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the U.S. economy than the Trump administration previously estimated, the White House acknowledged.

President Trump's economists have now doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week.

foxconn-wisconsin
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Work is well underway at the Foxconn construction site in Racine County. The Taiwanese electronics giant continues to promise it will create up to 13,000 jobs at the huge LCD screen factory. Foxconn says it will invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a “world class” manufacturing campus.

But the project continues to have critics. 

Updated at 4:03 p.m. ET

Despite enormous pressure from President Trump, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it is increasing interest rates by a quarter point.

The Fed said in a statement it is raising the key borrowing rate to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent — the highest level in a decade, when the economy was in the early stages of the financial crisis and the beginning of the Great Recession. The Dow ended the day down 352 points, or 1.5 percent, after the Fed announcement. The index was up nearly 300 points earlier.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

U.S. stock markets recovered most of their losses after plunging on reports that a Chinese technology executive was arrested in Canada. The arrest escalated U.S.-China tensions at a time when the two sides vowed to work to ease their trade war.

Updated at 9:01 a.m. ET Wednesday

Stock prices tumbled Tuesday amid investor fears about trade, wiping out the gains that followed the Trump administration's decision to delay higher tariffs on imports from China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 799 points, losing 3.1 percent of its value, while the S&P 500 index fell 3.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite index plunged 3.8 percent.

In another worrisome sign for the economy, the interest rate on short-term U.S. Treasury securities actually rose above that of longer-term instruments.

Quebec Representative Urges Caution On Tariffs

Dec 3, 2018
Canadian National Railway Company

Of all the employment statistics in Wisconsin, this one might be the most surprising: 16,000 workers in Wisconsin are employed by companies based in Quebec. The companies for which many of them work are well-known names — BMO Harris Bank, CN Rail and Saputo Cheese.

Oil prices continued to fall Friday, amid weaker global demand and increased output in the United States, to the lowest price this year. The cost of a barrel dropped below $60, a decrease of more than 20 percent from its peak last month.

President Trump has credited Saudi Arabia with the falling oil prices. "Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let's go lower!" he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. He called the drop "a big Tax Cut for America and the World."

But the drop in prices has raised concerns about the international economy, as well as domestic growth in the United States.

Why do gas prices end in 9/10 of a cent?

Oct 11, 2018

This series originally ran during February 2014. We're republishing it today in light of our Make Me Smart podcast's new Explainathon episode, which included the first question here. The rest are good too, and the original article appears below.

State of Working Wisconsin 2018

Over the last four decades, Wisconsin has doubled its productivity. But the average worker is earning just a dollar more per hour.

Like many states, Wisconsin has struggled to regain the ground it lost in the recession of 2008. A decade later, wages have finally recovered and unemployment is at a historic low.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced another quarter-percentage-point increase in interest rates Wednesday as expected, citing a strong labor market and economy.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Updated 2:20 pm

When Gov. Scott Walker mounted his first gubernatorial campaign he made a bold claim: that during his first term as governor he would create 250,000 jobs for Wisconsinites. He is just now nearing that figure after nearly two terms on the job.

Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET

Hours after President Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, China responded with its own levies on $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

Chinese state television on Tuesday reported that the government has decided to impose tariffs of 5 percent to 10 percent on $60 billion worth of U.S. products, starting on Monday. The tariffs will apply to 5,207 items.

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