Jobs and the Economy

It is a great honor to be appointed to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Board of Commissioners. These two organizations have been critical to statewide and local development, and I am very happy to have been part of the process for projects which have had a beneficial impact on our state, region, and within our 3rd Senate District.

Over the last year and a half, we saw how COVID-19 impacted every aspect of our daily lives. Now that vaccine distribution efforts have been ongoing in all areas of our state and country we are getting back to in-person activities, and the economy, from local to global, is starting to reopen.

Compared to many other countries, the United States has performed well in securing and administering vaccines to its population. Wisconsin has been a leader among U.S. states in administering the vaccines that it has received, which led to an earlier relaxing of public health restrictions than we had anticipated several months ago.

I am very excited to see how this Summer continues with public events such as the Wisconsin State Fair reopening, August 5th through the 15th.

Helpful Resources:

Upcoming Local Job Fairs

Job Center of Wisconsin

Jobs in Demand

WiscJobs for Vets

State of Wisconsin Jobs

Milwaukee County Careers

City of Milwaukee Jobs

City of Greenfield Jobs

City of West Allis Jobs

Village of West Milwaukee Jobs

Apply for Food Share

Veterans Benefits

Energy Assistance

Apply for Unemployment

Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program

WEDC Business Resources

U.S. Small Business Association Resources

City of Milwaukee Business Resources

Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation

Job creation and economic growth in the 3rd Senate District

There has been a significant amount of economic activity in the 3rd State Senate District, which has been very exciting to see. Public projects such as the Harbor Clean-Up and Flood Management plans have created opportunities for jobs, and many private enterprises have turned their eyes to the South Side for development, all of which generates economic activity and creates jobs for our area. The list below shows just some of the opportunities and developments taking place!

Upcoming Job Fairs:

Summer Fair Job Fest : Get hired for State Fair and Summerfest at one job fair. Saturday, July 10th 9am-2pm @ Exposition Center in State Fair Park

Drive Thru Job Fair (Four Sites) : Get information about employers that are hiring now. July 15 from 12pm-4pm @ Serb Hall and Basilica of St. Josephat parking lots. Digital flyer.

Harbor District Boom:

Slideshow of projects in Milwaukee Business Journal

Milwaukee's Harbor and Estuary : This project is a $400 million cleanup that will be removing polluted sediments to create a much cleaner estuary. In addition to improving environmental quality for all locals and visitors, this will help the ongoing momentum for new housing, offices and other developments in Milwaukee’s Harbor District.

Video Credit: John Gurda and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District et all

Burnham Canal Remediation and Ecosystem Restoration : $10 million cleanup of a no longer used, 17 foot deep shipping corridor located from 7th to 15th Streets just north of Bruce Street which contains sediment with high levels of copper, lead, cadmium, nickel, silver and zinc as well as chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). After the toxic sediment is removed it will be partially filled and restored to a natural wetland. 

Photo Credit: John Gurda via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Harbor View Plaza : Milwaukee’s newest park. Located at E. Greenfield Ave., the park overlooks Milwaukee’s harbor and is intended to merge the heavy industrial presence of the port with the thousands of Walker’s Point residents that live within blocks of Lake Michigan.

Photo Credit: Harbor District Milwaukee

Komatsu Mining South Harbor Campus : at the end of E. Greenfield Ave. which is currently a former industrial site on Milwaukee's inner harbor. The planned $285 million manufacturing campus includes a three-story, 176,000-square-foot office building, training center, museum and automation lab as well as a three-story, 430,000-square-foot manufacturing facility providing around 1,000 jobs that include 600 local employees.

Photo Credit: Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

R1ver Project : Michels Corp.'s $100 million development bringing several hundred employees, retail, housing and a hotel to the area overlooking the Kinnickinnic River west of S. First St. and north of W. Becher St.Photo slideshow: Kenny Yoo via Milwaukee Business Journal

EagleKnit Innovation Hub : $30 million development nearing completion. Located at 507 S. 2nd St., and will be turned into offices for start-ups and established firms. The 120,000-square-foot building combines the renovated factory with a five-story addition that includes a rooftop deck. Improvements include new windows, plumbing fixtures, electrical systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

Slideshow Credit: Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rite-Hite Holding : will be moving its world headquarters with more than 300 employees to the Reed Street Yards at S. 3rd St.

Photo Credit: Eppstein-Uhen Architects Inc. and Rite-Hite Holding Corp. via MJS

Xylem Sanitaire : a leading global water technology provider is moving to the Global Water Center at 247 W. Freshwater Way.

Photo Credit: The Water Council via

More projects in the 3rd District:

City of Greenfield : has proposed a $100 million development built on a large swath of land north of I-894 and east of Loomis, including the 16-acre park-and-ride parcel, as well as a chunk of land south of I-894. This proposal could bring a hotel, entertainment venue, gas station/convenience store and a mix of residential, commercial and medical space.

Photo Credit: Cobalt Partners via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

GE Healthcare : is investing $50 million in its West Milwaukee facility on W. Electric Ave. to create a "world-class, industry-leading product development and manufacturing campus for medical imaging." 
Video Credit: WISN12 ABC

Hunger Task Force : has announced it will be moving its headquarters to a 120,000-square-foot warehouse at 5000 W. Electric Ave. in West Milwaukee.

Video Credit: UpHigh Productions and Hunger Task Force

In our state and region

During the pandemic, we saw our state's GDP decline by 4.5%, and unemployment shot to 14% in April of 2020.

Once the vaccines for COVID became available, we saw our state become a leader in distributing the allotments that we received from the federal government, and as a result, we have been able to relax public health restrictions much more quickly than anticipated.

Photo Credit: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Now unemployment is back to pre-pandemic levels at 3.9%, however, unemployment in the Milwaukee region is higher than the statewide average, hovering around 5%. Economic factors are looking rosy for the next few years, according to Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau:

"Based upon the strength of collections and the vastly improved economic forecasts for the remainder of this year and the next two years, our analysis indicates that for the three-year period, aggregate general fund tax collections will be $4,427.4 million above those of the previous estimates..." Source

Once again, the challenge will be to avoid a "K-shaped" recovery in Wisconsin. One year ago, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation released the report, Wisconsin Tomorrow. This report was commissioned by the legislature to assess the economic impact of COVID-19 on our state, and to identify strategies for recovery. The WEDC report shows that all regions of our state suffered from the pandemic, and that the growth that our state has seen over the past 20 years in the number of minority owned businesses came to standstill.

The top 3 recommendations in the report for addressing the economic turmoil from COVID were:

  1. Get everyone back to work--by providing resources for education,  childcare and early education, and improving access to healthcare.
  2. Expand access to broadband--to ensure that students have access to educational resources, the general population has access to public resources, and businesses have access to the digital marketplace.
  3. Support innovation--providing resources to small businesses and startups will help improve Wisconsin's recovery and overall economy. 

Another of the major factors currently affecting Wisconsinites is  transportation. The WEDC is assisting a pilot program to help connect workers with their jobs by helping to fill in the "last mile" when public transit doesn't reach the workplace.

"...We know that access to robust transportation is a significant factor in workers’ decisions whether to take a job and businesses’ decisions whether to locate or expand here. Last-mile solutions are one of the keys to getting workers to jobs and keeping communities thriving." said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO.


The United States is seeing many people return to the activities that took a hit due to the pandemic, jobs are returning across the country, the stock market is recovering, and some projections put the U.S. growth for 2021 at 7.5% which would be the fastest growth rate since 1951.

Photo Credit:

These trends are being driven by a successful vaccine rollout in the U.S., coupled with economic stimulus policies from the federal government. However, many Americans are not yet feeling the effects of a recovering economy, this is sometimes referred to as a "K shaped" recovery, when certain parts of the economy are doing well, while others are getting left behind.

In order for our country to reach it's highest potential, we must invest in those who were hit the hardest by the pandemic. Many people lost their jobs, homes, cars, and were forced to make other devastating sacrifices. Focusing on policies and programs to help make sure that they can get back on their feet and live without fear of not being able to make the next month's rent or mortgage payment will be critical to economic recovery.

Across the globe

At a global level, COVID-19 is still dominating economic considerations. As countries consider how to navigate reopening, their access to vaccines is one of the primary factors that either enable or prohibit them from being able to reopen safely and quickly.

Photo Credit: New York Times Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World 07/07/21

The head of the World Health Organization has warned that poor countries need more vaccines as soon as possible. The G7, has committed to providing 1 billion doses, but at least 11 billion doses will be required to bring the world's vaccination rate up to 70%. Currently less than 1% of the adult population in Africa is vaccinated, and deaths are increasing across Latin America.

Due to variability in the vaccine rollouts for different countries, and restrictions that are still necessary in some areas, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has projected that the Global economy could suffer a $4 trillion dollar loss from a tourism slump.

Vaccine scarcity in developing nations is hampering a global economic recovery of historic proportions. The longer regions struggle to address the pandemic, the more likely they are to see viral variations such as the Delta variant, which could lead to additional "waves" of the pandemic.

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