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Welcome to the Business Facts newsletter with business news and information about St. Croix County, Wisconsin.
January 2017 | Volume 20, Issue 1 | Inside this issue:

 

Thank you to WITC and First National Community Bank
for sponsoring this newsletter.


 

Thank you to Greystone Commercial and
Kevin J. LaCasse for being our real estate sponsor.


 

Greater St. Croix County Valley
Legislative Day Scheduled for February 8

Leaders from Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties will travel to the state capitol in Madison on Wednesday, February 8, for the annual Greater St. Croix Valley Legislative Day.  A wide variety of representatives from business, industry, education, and civic organizations join together each year to discuss common issues impacting the region.  Teams of 2-3 people will meet with legislators representing all areas of Wisconsin, to thank legislators for past support, and to discuss current issues of greatest concern to the St. Croix Valley. 
 
“The Greater St. Croix Valley Legislative Day is a great opportunity to engage legislators from all corners of the state about our region’s specific, and often unique, needs,” said Blake Fry, Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau president.  “This year’s event will be even more important with many new legislators, particularly as they begin the state’s biennium budget process,” he added.
 
Members of the community are encouraged to participate in the event. There is no cost to register and transportation to and from Madison is provided. A registration form is available on the EDC website at http://www.stcroixedc.com/content/legislative-day-2017, or click HERE for an interactive form. (NOTE: The forms incorrectly show Feb 7 as the date. New forms will be posted shortly, but feel free to use these with the incorrect date for now.) The deadline to register is January 31.
 
Upon arrival, attendees will meet to discuss key talking points and review materials.  Then they will break into their groups and meet with legislators as previously scheduled.
 
The annual Greater St. Croix Legislative Day is coordinated and sponsored by: Dunn County Economic Development Corporation, Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, Menomonie Area Chamber & Visitor Center, Momentum West, New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce, Pierce County Economic Development Corporation, Polk County Economic Development Corporation, River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, and St. Croix Economic Development Corporation.
 
For more information, contact Fry at (715) 386-8411 or blake@hudsonwi.org.

 

Business of the Year Banquet is February 16

Please mark your calendars. The 2016 Business of the Year banquet is set for Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at Ready Randy’s in New Richmond.
 
The winners will be announced on January 11th by EDC board president Agnes Ring. Honorees will be selected from three categories, including Emerging Business of the Year (in business for five or fewer years), Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees, and Business of the Year (30 or more employees).
 
The EDC board also presents an occasional award called the Directors Award. It is presented to an individual or organization that works to further the ideals of economic development in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. The 2016 recipient will also be announced by President Ring.
 
Until January 10, for more information, including banquet pricing, contact William Rubin at (715) 381-4383 or bill@stcroixedc.com. Beginning January 11, contact Nita Dusek at St. Croix EDC, (715) 381-4383 or nita@stcroixedc.com.

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Wisconsin Companies Invited to Explore
International Business Growth in Canada

WEDC Trade Venture Targets Companies
Seeking to Start or Expand Their Exports

The state’s lead economic development organization, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), is leading a global trade venture to Canada from April 30 to May 5, 2017, with stops in Toronto and Montreal.
 
WEDC says Canada is an ideal first market for new-to-export companies and one that seeks innovative, advanced technology product and service solutions. In Canada, Wisconsin companies will find a friendly market with many potential buyers for their products and services, especially if they offer innovations that solve problems for companies in their respective sectors.
 
Canada is a highly receptive, open and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Canadians spending more than 60 percent of their disposable income on U.S. goods and services. In 2015, U.S. exports to Canada were equal to U.S. exports to China, Japan, the UK and Germany combined. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a common language, cultural similarities and geographic proximity also ease the path for U.S. exports to Canada. Thus, Canada represents a strong opportunity market for Wisconsin exporters across all sectors.
 
“Through global trade ventures and the assistance of WEDC’s global network, we take the mystery out of exporting and help provide a clear path for Wisconsin companies to grow their sales in international markets,” said Katy Sinnott, WEDC vice president of international business development.
 
In each city, participants will be scheduled for customized one-on-one meetings with prospective partners in the market. These partners are pre-qualified for each participating company based on specific qualifications and criteria that suit the company’s needs. Each participant in the global trade venture will also receive market intelligence specific to his or her company, detailing considerations to keep in mind when introducing the company’s product or service into the Canadian market. With logistics and scheduling handled for them, participating companies can focus on business.
 
The fee for this program is $1,800, which covers market research and one-on-one appointments, transportation to business meetings, hotel accommodations for the duration of the program and some group meals.
 
The program registration deadline is March 6, 2017.
 
For more information, visit www.InWisconsin.com/canada2017.
 

 

Concept Plans for Vacant Dog Track
Discussed at Hudson City Council Meeting

On December 19th, the Hudson city council previewed a concept plan submitted by Klint Klaas of Minnesota-based KF Investment Properties, LLC for the redevelopment of the 130+/- acre former St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Track along Carmichael Road, south of Interstate 94.
 
The concept plans included corporate office buildings, a hotel, convention center, apartments, high-end town homes and/or condominiums, and retail.
 
Project costs are estimated at $185+ million.
 
Klaas indicated that part of the site would include a 2,000 to 3,000 seat baseball stadium for a Northwoods League team he and partners would bring to Hudson. The Northwoods League is a summer development league played by elite college baseball players. The 2017 season marks its 24th season and fans are drawn to a friendly ballpark experience. More than 160 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball (MBL), including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who pitched for the La Crosse Loggers..
 
Nick Halter with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal first reported on the redevelopment plans. His article can be read at
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/12/19/minor-league-baseball-team-would-anchor.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search.
 
Learn more about the Northwoods League at www.northwoodsleague.com.
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St. Paul SCORE Chapter Expands
Services to St. Croix Valley Region

The St. Paul Chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is expanding its services to small business owners and entrepreneurs in the St. Croix Valley region.  SCORE a national, nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship will be offering workshops and one on one counseling/mentoring services.  SCORE was started in Minneapolis in 1964 as a strategic partner with the SBA.
 
On January 21st, in partnership with the Hudson Public Library, a free 5-session workshop, titled” Simple Steps to Starting Your Business” will be offered to enterprising potential business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs over the course of 8 weeks.
 
For additional information on this workshop visit www.stpaul.score.org or www.hudsonareapubliclibrary.org. Sessions will be 2 hours long and held at the Hudson Public Library.
 
In partnership with the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, free one-on-one mentoring/counseling sessions will be offered on the second Thursday of each month from 2:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Chamber offices, located at 502 Second Street in Hudson.  No appointment is necessary.
 
SCORE’s expanded services include the development of a branch of the St. Paul chapter in the St. Croix Valley region. The initiative is to develop and deliver training and mentoring services to the region’s small business owners and entrepreneurs in collaboration with existing resources. 
 
Joe Folsom will lead the development of the St. Croix Valley Branch. He is a certified SCORE mentor who brings a depth of experience in small business, community, and economic development. His extensive background includes District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Iowa and his community and rural development work in Minnesota.
 
If you have time and talent to contribute towards the growth and development of our Valley’s small business owners and entrepreneurs and desire to be part of a national volunteer organization serving our nation’s entrepreneurs and small business owners visit www.stpaulscore.org or call Joe Folsom at (651) 983-5272.
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Last Call: 2017 Entries for Governor’s
Business Plan Contest Ends January 31

The 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2017 competition until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
 
The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.
 
Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.
 
For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (about 2,000 characters) idea abstract online at www.govsbizplancontest.com. Contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit, at this website. The Toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.
 
Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.
 
To get started, contestants must create a simple account at www.govsbizplancontest.com.  All entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.
 
Good Luck!
 

Department of Administration Announces
Block Grant Workshops

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) will conduct two workshops to provide training on the highly-competitive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Facilities and Planning Programs. The training is offered to potential applicants to help provide guidance and instructions in writing successful CDBG applicants.
 
The CDBG Public Facility and Economic Development federal grants provide financial assistance in planning grants that support community efforts to address community opportunities and vitality; economic development grants to local governments to assist businesses with job creation and retention; Public facility grants to support infrastructure and facility projects for communities; and public facility economic development grants for assistance to local governments for infrastructure projects that support business expansion. 
 
The two application training sessions will be:
 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Wyndham Garden
2969 Cahill Main
Fitchburg, Wisconsin 53711
(608) 274-7200
 
-or-
 
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Westwood Conference Center
1800 Westwood Center Boulevard
Wausau, Wisconsin 54401
(715) 212-3732
 
A webinar option is available for the February 22nd training session.
 
Registration instructions will be emailed and provided on DOA’s Division of Energy, Housing and Community Resources web page by January 20, 2017 at http://doa.state.wi.us/divisions/housing.
 
Please save the date for these informative training sessions.
 
For questions or concerns, please contact Charles Androsky at (608) 261-8471 or Charlie.Androsky@wisconsin.gov.
 

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WEDC Releases Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2016

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is the state’s lead economic development agency. It was launched in mid-2011 following legislative agency in the state Assembly and Senate. Origins of WEDC can be traced to a major competitive analysis of Wisconsin’s economic development landscape. The analysis was entitled, Be Bold, and concluded with a series of recommendations, including the creation of a new public-private organization to replace the state’s Department of Commerce. The recommendations were endorsed by the major candidates for governor, including Tom Barrett, Mark Neumann, and Scott Walker.
 
WEDC recently released its annual report for fiscal year 2016. The report is organized by agency strategies that are designed to maximize Wisconsin’s economic performance and shows economic development “in action” and celebrates the communities and the people who benefit from the programs we administer on behalf of the state of Wisconsin.
 
The report can be read at:
http://inwisconsin.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/WEB_WEDC-Annual-Report-FY16.pdf
 
About WEDC
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network.
 
To learn more, visit www.inwisconsin.com.
 

 

River Crossing Updates: Photos Reveal
Inner Workings Inside the Bridge Segments

All precast bridge segments are in place. Activities this fall and winter include completing the
1-2 foot closure pours between the bridge segments. This includes placing rebar and tendons in the gaps before concrete is poured to close the gap. Photo CREDITS: MnDOT
 

A construction worker preps for the closure pour between Piers 10 & 11.
 

On the night of December 20th, construction crews completed the closure pour between Piers 12 and 13, located on the Wisconsin bluff.
 

In preparation for the closure pour, construction crews placed rebar and tendons in the gap between Piers 10 and 11.
 
This is a view of stay cables anchoring inside Pier 9.
 
This photo illustrates the inside the Pier 9 bridge deck. Segments are hollow to reduce the overall weight of the bridge and to allow for routine maintenance.
 
This photo illustrates the sheer magnitude of the bridge segments. It is a view of underneath Span 14, located on the Wisconsin bluff, near State Highway 35. Construction crews painted the pictured area a beige color. Additional painting will resume this Spring.
 


St. Croix County Collects $79.28 Per
Capita in Sales Tax Revenue in 2015

Barely Above Statewide Per Capita Estimate of $77.76

Under current law, Wisconsin counties may impose a sale and use tax of 0.5% on the same tax base as the state sales and use tax of 5.0%. In 2015, 63 of the state’s 72 counties imposed the county sales tax, including a football stadium tax in Brown County.
 
For 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) said the average countywide sales tax collection per capita for the counties that impose a countywide tax was $77.76. Twenty counties exceeded the statewide benchmark in 2015, led by Sauk County at $135.75 per capita. Much of the Wisconsin Dells tourism spending occurs in Sauk. Oconto County generated the least amount of county sales tax (per capita) at $45.58 in 2015.
 
St. Croix County collected $79.28 per capita in 2015, according to DOR. Residents of St. Croix tend to make purchases in Minnesota, which dilutes the per capita collection estimates.
 
Nearby Polk County collected $65.36 per capita, while Dunn collected $63.55 and Pierce collected $49.68.

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WI Manufacturers & Ag Production
Companies Prosper with Low Corporate Tax Rate

Wisconsin is well known for its manufacturing and agricultural bases. With this recognition, the State of Wisconsin established specific incentives to manufacturers to maximize their production here. The most meaningful is the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit, which virtually eliminates the tax on income from manufacturing activity in the state.
 
All other Wisconsin businesses pay a corporate rate of 7.9 percent.
 
Learn more about this corporate tax credit program from a fact sheet created by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue by clicking here https://revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/1107manufandagr.pdf.
 

 

David Tyvoll Joins First American Bank 

Hudson, Wisconsin based First American Bank announced that David Tyvoll has joined the staff as their newest Commercial Lender.  Tyvoll brings over 14 years of credit experience within St. Croix County to First American Bank and he looks forward to meeting and working with individuals and businesses in the Hudson area.
 
Tyvoll and his family reside in New Richmond and are active in their local church.  In addition to his duties at the bank, David enjoys hunting and camping and serves as a board member of the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation.
 
“As a local community bank, we are delighted to add a very qualified commercial lender to our organization who has deep local ties,” said John Malmberg, CEO of First American Bank.
 
First American Bank is located at the corner of Carmichael and Hanley Road, 2424 Monetary Blvd, Suite 107 in Hudson, Wisconsin. Learn more at www.fa-bank.net.

 

 

Steel Rising: WinField Innovation Center

In mid-2016, WinField, a leading provider of seed, crop protection products and agronomic expertise, announced a major expansion project in River Falls, Wisconsin.
 
A 52,000 square foot, multi-million dollar laboratory, greenhouse, and R&D center is under construction in Sterling Ponds Corporate Park, located along State Highway 35 on the city’s north side.
 
Following site preparation and foundation work, erecting the building’s steel frame is well underway.
 
WinField’s second project in River Falls is also under construction in Mann valley, adjacent to the lab farm operated by UW-River Falls. This will be used for product testing on WinField’s test plots on the lab farm.
 
Due to ongoing R&D, WinField says more than 25 proprietary products have been brought to market and additional products, ranging from fertilizers to adjuvants and herbicides are in the research pipeline.
 
WinField’s Spray Analysis System, already located in its Product Development Center in River Falls, is a key component to their research department. Experts have tested more than 30,000 adjuvant samples since opening in 2011.
 
The Spray Analysis System’s wind tunnel design was recognized in April 2014 by the U.S. Patent Office for its unique role in spray particle analysis. WinField’s design is one of five spray labs in the United States that contains an enclosed wind tunnel, allowing experts to test realistic tank mixtures—not just water.
 
About WinField
Winfield Solutions LLC (WinField), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc. offers
top-performing seed and crop protection products. With unmatched agricultural expertise and
performance as core company values, WinField® brands match leading seed and crop
protection products to help farmers, retailers and other industry partners achieve high levels of
success.
 
WinField brands include CROPLAN® seed, crop protection products, plant nutrients and other
proprietary products. Backed with unrivaled technical services and knowledge, WinField®
products deliver outstanding solutions and value for the agricultural industry.
 
Learn more at www.winfield.com.

 

Woodville Warehousing and Distributing
Celebrates Open House at Baldwin Facility

Woodville Warehousing and Distributing recently completed its 125,000 square foot distribution facility in the Baldwin I-94 Industrial Park (Baldwin, Wisc.) and celebrated with an open house on December 14th.
 
This is the fourth facility for Woodville Warehousing, bringing the total square footage to around 350,000 square feet. The first three buildings are in Woodville, Wisconsin.
 
A short program during the open house included congratulatory comments from the Village of Baldwin, Hiawatha Bank, St. Croix EDC, and staff representatives from U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, and U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy.
 
Learn more at www.woodvillewarehouse.com.

 

Census Bureau: Wisconsin Gains
91,419 Residents from 2010 to 2016

Wisconsin gained 91,419 residents from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on December 20. The Badger State continues to rank as the 20th most populated state, but the numeric gain from 2010 to 2016 ranks it 26th in growth and 39th by percentage increase (+1.6 percent). The July 1, 2016 population estimate for Wisconsin is estimated at 5,778,708 compared to 5,687,289 on April 1, 2010.
 
Minnesota added an estimated 216,028 from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 for a 4.1 percent gain, according to the Census Bureau. In 2010, Minnesota ranked as the 21st most-populated state, and is currently ranked 22nd. The numeric increase from 2010-2016 ranked Minnesota #18 and the percentage increase ranked it 26th.
 
The Census Bureau says Utah is the fastest-growing state from 2010 to 2016 with an increase of 2.03 percent. Nevada ranked second with an increase of 1.95 percent, followed by Idaho (+1.83%), Florida (+1.82%), and Washington (+1.78).
 
Texas has the largest numeric gain from 2010 to 2016 with 432,957 residents, followed by Florida (+367,525), California (+256,077), Washington (+127,710), and Arizona (+113,506).
 
North Dakota, which had been the fastest-growing state for the previous four years, fell out of the Top 10 in growth due to a net outflow of migrants to other parts of the country. Its growth slowed from 2.3 percent in the previous year to 0.1 percent.
 
Eight states lost population between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016, including Pennsylvania, New York, and Wyoming, all three of which had grown in the previous year (2014-2015). Illinois lost more people than any other state between 2015 and 2016, estimated at a loss of 37,508 people.
 
Nationally, the U.S. population grew by 0.7 percent to 323.1 million. Adults, age 18 and over, grew to 249.5 million, making up 77.2 percent of the population, or an increase of 0.9 percent from 2015 (247.3 million).

 

WI REALTORS® Association: Market
Heats Up in November as Inventories Tighten

On December 19th, the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) released information on member-assisted transactions for November 2016. The state’s exceptionally robust housing market continued in November with both sales and median prices rising significantly. WRA says November sales rose 19 percent compared to November 2015, setting a new sales record for the month. Healthy sales, combined with very low inventory levels, pushed the median sales price up 8.3 percent to $162,400. The state is on pace to have its strongest year since WRA recalibrated its system for recording sales in 2005. Through the first 11 months of 2016, sales are up 5.8 percent and median prices have increased 5.4 percent compared to the same time period last year.
 
In St. Croix County, there were 123 transactions in November, compared to 98 sales in November 2015 (an increase of +25.5%). The median sale price for transactions in St. Croix during November was estimated at $207,000 compared to $219,450 in November 2015 (or a increase of -5.7%).
 
Year-to-date sales (January-November) in St. Croix were up +11.3% compared to January-November 2015 (1,570 transactions v. 1,411). The January-November 2016 median price increased +6.2% compared to January-November 2015 ($219,900 v. $207,000).
 
“This has been an excellent year for sales, and unless the tight inventories keep December sales, down, we should see a record year for the Wisconsin housing market,” said Erik Sjowall, WRA’s 2016-17 board chair.
 
The number of homes for sale statewide fell to just 36,231 in November, down from 43,181 last November. Metro counties across the state had 5.3 months of supply in November of 2015, but only 4.1 months of available supply in November 2016. “We’ve been concerned about the limited supply all year, and inventories fell even further in November,” said Sjowall.
 
There were 40,373 homes on the market in October, which represents 6.1 months of available supply. This is well below the October peak of 66,068 homes in 2010 when there was 14.6 months of available inventory. “Low inventory levels are a concern, especially in our metropolitan counties, which had just 4.6 months of supply in October,” said Sjowall.
 
“The steady increase in price is predictable given our low inventory situation,” said WRA President & CEO Michael Theo. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported real gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. grew at 3.2 percent in the third quarter, which is the highest quarterly growth rate since the third quarter of 2014. “The GDP growth is definitely fueling demand, as are low mortgage rates,” sad Theo. However, interest rates continue to rise.
 
The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index shows the portion of a median-priced home that a household with a median family income and a 20 percent down payment can afford to buy, assuming the remaining 80 percent is financed with a 30-year fix mortgage. The Index stood at “b235c” in November. This is down from “c244c” in November 2015, but still well above national levels. The Index was “236” in October 2016 and was “231” in September 2016.
 
Read more at www.wra.org.
  

 

St. Croix County’s November
Unemployment Rate at 3.4%

On December 21st, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary November 2016 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 32 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s rate was estimated at 3.4%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in October was 3.2% and September’s final rate was 3.1%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.6%.
 
DWD said preliminary unemployment rates for November decreased in all 72 counties compared to November 2015, and decreased or remained the same in 24 of 72 counties when compared to October 2016 rates. The current rates ranged from 2.7% in Lafayette and Dane counties to 6.9% in Menominee.
 
The November 2016 preliminary unemployment rates decreased in all of Wisconsin’s 32 municipalities with population bases of least 25,000 residents compared to November 2015. The November 2016 rates ranged from 2.5% in Fitchburg to 5.4% in Racine.
 
Read more at http://www.stcroixedc.com/content/unemployment-2016-november.

 

December 2016 Dashboard for St. Croix Valley Released

The November 2016 edition of the St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard has been released by the Center for Economic Research (CER) at UW-River Falls, in partnership with St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC). The dashboard is a snapshot of economic conditions in labor, consumer, agricultural and housing markets for the seven county St. Croix Valley, which includes the Wisconsin counties of Polk, St. Croix, Pierce, and Dunn and the Minnesota counties of Chisago, Washington, and Ramsey. It presents the latest available data in one convenient package (note: most regional data is available with a one or two month delay).
 
Dr. Logan Kelly, Director of CER, conducts the research for the Dashboard. Read his observations as well as the 4-page Dashboard in St. Croix EDC’s press release at http://www.stcroixedc.com/content/dashboard.

 
Copyright © 2017 St. Croix Economic Development Corporation, All rights reserved.
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