County job outlook continues to brighten

Nearly one in ten of the 39,582 jobs impacted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in Wisconsin from July 2012 to July 2013, or 3565 jobs, were in Sheboygan County. These numbers highlight a manufacturing economic engine that is re-emerging rapidly in Sheboygan County as recent job growth bodes well for 2014.

“Sheboygan County has a population base of 115,000 (2012 Census Estimate), yet the number of jobs impacted were greater than either Dane and Milwaukee Counties—with population and employment bases far exceeding ours,” said Dane Checolinski, Director, Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). “As a matter of fact, out of 72 Counties in Wisconsin, the WEDC showed a greater impact here than all but one other county. Sheboygan County may have fewer residents than the major population centers of the state, but our companies are growing.”

Of the companies who were impacted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation through the use of tax credits or subordinated loans, most were guided by the SCEDC. SCEDC services helped bring $14 million in assistance for companies in Sheboygan County committed to growing and maintaining their operations. As a result, these same companies invested more than $1 million in the Sheboygan County community in a single year.

“We’re pleased to see the flurry of economic development activity in Sheboygan County. This is only going to make this strong region even stronger,” said Reed Hall, Secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Much of that activity is due to the aggressive efforts of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation and WEDC, and we’re pleased the two organizations have formed a strong partnership that will continue to bring more growth and family-supporting jobs to Sheboygan County.”

A late-2013 multi-million dollar investment by Sheboygan Paper Box Company (SPBCo) is a case in point as to the value that SCEDC brings to Sheboygan County businesses.

Leveraging the latest in converting technology to manufacture custom folding cartons and services for a host of industries, Sheboygan Paper Box Company had reached a crossroads last year when investing in new technology became critical to maintain a competitive edge and handle doubledigit growth.

“We approached SCEDC in mid-2013 to explore ‘other’ to assist with financing our multi-million dollar printing press project. It was quite an education,” says SPBCo President/COO Tom Liebl.

The German-made equipment arrived the first week of December, just after Sheboygan Paper Box celebrated its 90th anniversary on Thanksgiving Day 2013.

“SCEDC did an excellent job of letting us know what our options are—interest rate options, tax credits, grants, training dollars assistance, everything that can help with the cost of financing. Then SCEDC connected us with key agencies and programs to optimize financing and ROI,” Liebl adds. “They showed us the overall scope of what’s available, and followed through to help us and the agencies we chose to work with stay on task.”

Sheboygan County’s unemployment rate has plummeted from 10.6% in 2010 to an estimated 5.2% today. For the first time since the recession, 2013 saw sustained job growth, with an estimated 3000 jobs added in Sheboygan County in 2013—1000 of these during last July alone. Echoing this trend is growth in the County’s Gross Domestic Product, which has risen 30% faster than the state average. Locally, manufacturing, finance and real estate sectors have shown the most growth.

“Sheboygan County is home to eight of the state’s top 75 locallyowned businesses,” adds Checolinski.

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