The employment distribution in the construction industry fell by around 16% and 24% in Calumet and Outagamie, alongside an average wage growth of 18% and 33%, respectively. In construction, the percentage of jobs in Winnebago increased by 15% between 2004 and 2014, yet annual wage growth stagnated. The ten-year trend in the manufacturing industry between 2004 and 2014 in the Fox Cities region saw an overall reduction in manufacturing jobs, in line with statewide and national trends. While manufacturing wages retained a steady average increase in the Fox Cities region between 2004 and 2014, nationwide the United States saw manufacturing wages stagnate. Collating Fox Cities' 25 largest employers (non-public sector) by industry shows that the highest number of workers are employed in the manufacturing industry. This highlights that while manufacturing across the region is in decline, remaining jobs may be more reliant on larger employers than perhaps any other industry.
The industry that has transformed the most over the past ten years is the administrative and waste services industry in Calumet. This sector provides routine support activities for the day-to-day operations of other organizations. While the employment distribution percentage dropped by around 80% for administrative and waste services industry in Calumet from 2004 to 2014, average annual wages grew by almost 500%. A shift such as this might signify a major employer closing and the loss of a significant number of lower wage jobs.
In the last decade (2008-2017), economic growth in the Fox Cities regions has kept pace with the overall U.S. economy, even while Wisconsin has experienced below average growth. Compound Annual Growth Rate increased by 1.5% annually in Oskhosh and 1.6% annually in Appleton. This matches the U.S. annual growth rate of 1.5%. Wisconsin has only grown by 1.1% per year in this same period.
The region creates new businesses at a slower rate than the U.S. overall, but similar to Wisconsin’s rate. On average, each county in the Fox Cities region creates about 70-85 new businesses per year for every 1,000 existing business establishments . The U.S. created 103 new business per year for every 1,000 businesses in 2015.
In Calumet and Outagamie Counties, wages have grown 3 percent per year from 2014-2018, while in Winnebago County they have grown about 2 percent per year. For Calumet and Outagamie Counties, wage growth was much faster in this period than in the period from 2009-2013. In Winnebago County, wages grew only slightly faster than they had in the earlier period. However, Winnebago County does have the highest purchasing power ($54,010 per person) and average annual salary ($51,920) in the region. Annual salary grew for all counties between 2015 and 2019, but grew fastest in Calumet and Outagamie. At the same time, cost of living fell in these two counties (compared to the U.S. average). Cost of living in Outagamie and Calumet Counties is about 90% of the U.S. average, compared to 96% in Winnebago County. Because incomes have increased in Outagamie and Calumet while cost of living has fallen relative the country, purchasing power has increased by 20-22% in those counties, closing the economic gap between those counties and Winnebago County.
Among renters and homeowners across income levels , the Fox Cities region has generally affordable housing. In contrast, transportation costs are high. In all three counties, housing costs account for about 25% of income, which is below the 30% affordability threshold. Transportation costs, however, account for another 25% of income, meaning that households may spend half their income in transportation and housing combined. This is above the 45% affordability guideline for combined transportation and housing costs.
Unemployment has fallen consistently in the Fox Cities region. The unemployment rate for all counties was below 3% in 2018, lower than Wisconsin’s rate and much lower than the U.S. overall rate. 2018 unemployment rates vary from 2.6% in Calumet County to 2.8% in Outagamie County. The 2018 rate for the U.S. is 3.9%.