Wis. Bank CEOs Expect More of the Same for the Economy

“WBA’s biannual survey is a valuable tool in identifying economic trends in Wisconsin thanks to the insights of bank CEOs as both financial experts and active community members,” said WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels. “Bankers understand that individuals, families, and businesses continue to feel the pressure of inflation, and banks stand ready to assist their customers in weathering economic challenges.”

Among the economic bright spots cited by bank CEOs in the recent survey were increased spending levels, continued demand for construction and other diverse products and services, and strong employment and production levels. Survey respondents reported that, on average, about 11% of commercial real estate in their market area is currently vacant, indicating that Wisconsin is not as hard hit by vacancies as is seen on the national level (Moody’s Analytics reported a nearly 20% national office vacancy rate for Q4 2023). Looking ahead to the latter half of 2024, however, bank CEOs reported concerns in the agricultural sector due to grain and dairy price declines, as well as concerns surrounding a lack of employees, limiting growth in the manufacturing sector. Survey respondents also cited the upcoming election as a potential cause for pause on certain economic activity. The survey also showed that the high cost of living, rising debt, and availability and affordability of housing persist as top concerns for individuals and families for the remainder of 2024.  
The mid-year 2024 survey was conducted May 21–June 21 with 66 respondents. Below is a breakdown of the survey questions and responses. Sums may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

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