Economy

Industry Trends
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.

Cost of Living
The Fox Cities region, between 2005 and 2014, saw an incremental growth in per capita income, alongside a small increase in median household income between 2013 and 2014, both in line with national trends. While cumulative annual wage growth occurred in Calumet and Winnebago for the five year periods between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, annual wage growth slowed in Outagamie. The Income Gap Ratios between 2010 and 2014 are lowest in Calumet County (2.32), followed by 2.77 in Outagamie and 3.05 in Winnebago, which all compare favorably to the United States rate of 3.94. All three of the core Fox Cities’ counties have a 2015 Cost of Living Index rating below the national baseline, with Winnebago showing as the most affordable of the three counties with an index ranking of 95.5. The Housing and Transportation Affordability (H&T) Index data for the Fox Cities region shows that around 7 out of 10 households across all three counties can afford housing and transportation. This overall combination of factors indicates an affordable cost of living for the Fox Cities region.

Unemployment and Job Creation
All three of the core Fox Cities’ counties retain a workforce participation rate higher that the national rate, despite the impact of the financial crash of 2008 on the economy. Since the crash, unemployed rates in the Fox Cities areas have remained lower than state and national rates. From an average high of 7.6% across Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago in 2010 compared to 8.67% in Wisconsin and 9.63% in the United States, average 2014 rates saw the Fox Cities region drop to approximately 4.81% compared with 5.51% statewide and 6.17% nationwide. While unemployment has fallen steady alongside national trends between 2010 and 2014, it has fallen at a slower rate. Data on the creation of new businesses per 1,000 establishments shows encouraging growth across the Fox Cities region of 2.5% from 2010 to 2012, compared with 1.61% statewide and 1.67% nationwide.