2014 Regional Report: The Midwest

Wisconsin (No. 14): Steadily Adding Jobs
Wisconsin’s economy continues to inch forward; job recovery proceeds at a 1.5 percent pace. Trade, transportation and utilities, the Badger State’s major cluster, contracted in 2013 before rebounding early this year. Healthcare expansion is slow but steady. Professional and business services are bright spots, although growth is measured mainly in temporary jobs. Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall effort led by labor opponents of his right-to-work initiatives, pleasing many in the business community. Larry Gigerich, managing director of the Ginovus site selection firm in Indianapolis, lauds the state for “tremendous improvement” in business climate, citing recent financial reform and tax cutbacks, which aligned corporate tax procedures and depreciation rules with federal law. The Tax Foundation ranks Wisconsin 5th highest out of 50 states in tax burden, and 43rd in business tax climate. Wisconsin spends over $1.53 billion a year on incentive programs, according to The New York Times state subsidy database.

South Dakota (No. 15): A Need for Speed
South Dakota’s economic recovery has been “surprisingly slow,” according to JPMorgan Chase’s Economic Outlook, exacerbating the discrepancies between the Mount Rushmore State and its booming shared-name neighbor to the north.

Finance and insurance comprise South Dakota’s biggest cluster, followed by agriculture; government services account for nearly 12 percent of GDP. Ginovus’s Gigerich calls their education system “very good; as a result, their work force is very prepared. They have an excellent work ethic.” The Tax Foundation ranks South Dakota’s tax burden 3rd lowest out of 50 states and ranks its business tax climate second. The state spends over $27.8 million per year on incentive programs, according to the subsidy database of The New York Times.