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BMO Economics Special Report: Wisconsin to Experience Solid Economic Growth This Year

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 25, 2014) -

  • BMO Economics Special Report on Great Lakes region says economic activity will bounce back in 2014
  • Wisconsin economy will pick up, growing 2.3 percent in 2014 and 2.6 percent in 2015
  • Firming factory activity and modest export growth will contribute improvement

After a moderate expansion in 2013, Wisconsin's economic activity is picking up, according to a special report released today by BMO Economics on the economic output from the Great Lakes region. The report, North America's Economic Engine, was released to coincide with the Council of Great Lakes Governors meeting, taking place in Chicago on April 25-26, 2014.

The report notes that the region is a major driver of North American economic output, employment and trade, accounting for nearly a third of combined Canadian and U.S. output, jobs and exports.

"The Great Lakes region has so much going for itself with transportation infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, research and development, digital manufacturing, strong locally-rooted financial institutions, and some of the world's best post-secondary institutions," said Ambassador David Jacobson, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group. "The discussions ove r the next two days in Chicago will allow us to explore opportunities to create jobs, strengthen trade, open doors to new discoveries, and drive innovation and prosperity for all in the region."

According to the report, real GDP in Wisconsin will increase 2.3 percent in 2014, and rise 2.6 percent in 2015. This is up more than a full percentage point from the 1.2 percent growth rate in 2013, bolstered by firming factory activity and modest export growth.

"Improvement in business investment this year should help support modest gains in exports this year, and factory activity has come back from a soft patch a year ago," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "Wisconsin's labor market has experienced notable gains, with nonfarm payrolls up 1.4 percent year-over-year in the three months through March, and manufacturing employment rebounding to the highest level since early 2009."

Leisure and hospitality jobs have climbed five percent in the last year, and unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent and is expected to stay below six percent for the remainder of the year.

The housing market in Wisconsin didn't experience the same downturn as other harder-hit states. As a result, prices are rising at a slower pace than in other markets. The state's vacancy rate is 1.6 percent, and the months' supply of homes for sale in Milwaukee is five -- which is the lowest level since 2005.

To view a full copy of the report, visit

About BMO Capital Markets
BMO Capital Markets is a leading, full-service North American financial services provider, with more than 2,300 employees operating in 16 North American offices and 29 worldwide, offering corporate, institutional and government clients access to a complete range of investment and corporate banking products and services. BMO Capital M arkets is a member of BMO Financial Group (NYSE: BMO) (TSX: BMO), one of the largest diversified financial services providers in North America with US$532 billion total assets and more than 45,500 employees as at January 31, 2014.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank® is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $593 billion in assets (as of January 31, 2014).

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Media contact:
Alexis Brown