While industry leaders generally agree Wisconsin’s economy is strong and they're optimistic heading into 2019, the path forward isn't free of peril.

A recession doesn't appear likely in the near term, and deregulation and lower corporate income taxes should help keep the business climate on the upswing, some industry leaders say in the just-released annual “WBA Wisconsin Economic Report” by the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

But at the same time, Wisconsin’s agriculture industry, especially dairy, is hurting, and tariff retaliation by foreign countries is raising the cost of raw materials for manufacturing and housing here. And, across industries, companies in the state are concerned there aren’t enough workers to fill their job openings in 2019.   

About half of the 99 top bank executives polled by the bankers’ trade group expect the economy to stay the same next year as it’s been in 2018 — a level 85 percent considered “excellent” or “good.” But a slightly bigger percentage of those who foresee change think the economy is more likely to weaken than grow.

In the WBA Wisconsin Economic Report, which includes sector forecasts from industry experts, Rose Oswald Poels, WBA president and chief executive, characterized 2018 as “a great year for Wisconsin’s economy as well as lending activity.” She noted that bankers are the first to see and understand the state’s economic trends because they are involved with businesses and consumers at ground level.

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Additional coverage can be found in the Milwaukee Business Journal and BizTimes Milwaukee. The WBA press release can be found here.