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Despite experiencing large drops in employment and wage income in 2020, the St. Croix County area has had substantial economic vitality in 2021, along with the state and its projected to continue in that direction. 

Wisconsin came out with the financial outlooks of its Metropolitan Statistical Areas just a few weeks ago. Though not part of one of the 12 MSAs that cover 22 Wisconsin counties, here are four St. Croix County economy highlights: 

1. Unemployment

The Wisconsin unemployment rate is 3.9%, but anything between 3-4% is considered to be “full employment”, as there will always be job transitions occurring. St. Croix County has a 3.3% unemployment rate. 

“After falling sharply in April 2020, employment began to recover earlier and more quickly than expected in last year’s MSA forecast,” reports the WDR. “Employment declined 11.2% in Wisconsin and the MSAs by the second quarter of 2020, compared to the pre-pandemic levels of the fourth quarter of 2019.” 

By the second quarter of 2021, MSAs had improved employment to just 4.7% below pre-pandemic levels and 11 of the 12 are estimated to recover fully by the end of 2022. 

“One thing to note is that the forecast is highly dependent on the course of the pandemic,” states the WDR. 

2. Equalized Property Value

In 2021, the equalized property values in St. Croix County increased 7.85% compared to the statewide growth of 6.8%. Additionally, residential property in the county outperformed the state’s 7.85% growth by 1.53%. 

3. Lodging, Dining and Retail

St. Croix County has exceeded pre-pandemic sales tax on lodging and dining by 15% from 2020 as of June 2021. The state is up 36%.  

Also as of June, the county's retail activity was up 6.3% from 2020 numbers. 

4. Collections

According to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, “general fund tax collections for the 2020-2021 fiscal year have come in $319 million higher than previously estimated.” 

That’s 11.6% higher than the previous year’s preliminary estimates. 

“The latest estimate further underscores Wisconsin’s overall financial well-being,” reports the WDR. 

The LFB also estimates that the current two-year budget will produce about a $1.7 billion surplus at it's expiration in June 2023. 

“Kroll Bond Rating Agency upgraded the state’s long-term rating for general obligation bonds from AA+ to AAA.” This is the first time the state has received a AAA rating since 1982.

These numbers are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. More information can be found in the July 2021 Wisconsin Economic Forecast Update

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