July 2021 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s July 2021 Unemployment Rate at 3.3%

On August 25th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary July 2021 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s July rate was estimated at 3.3%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 3.8% but the same as May’s final rate. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 8.0%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates declined from June to July in 71 of 72 counties and declined in all 72 counties year-over-year. The rates ranged from 2.6% in Lafayette to 11.9% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same from June to July in all of Wisconsin’s 34 largest cities and declined in all of the largest cities year-over-year. Rates ranged from 3.1% in Madison to 7.4% in Milwaukee.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in July include Lafayette (2.6%), Kewaunee (2.8%), Taylor (also at 2.8%); Grant (2.9%); and Calumet (3.0%). Menominee County had the highest rate in July at 11.9%, followed by Forest (7.1%), Iron (6.7%), Milwaukee (6.2%), and Adams (also at 6.2%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.3%, July’s preliminary rate in Pierce was 3.2%, followed by Dunn at 3.6% and Polk at 3.7%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The July 2021 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 4.5% and May’s final rate of 3.8%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 8.2% in July 2020.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in July was estimated at 3.9%, matching the final rates for both June and May. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 7.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in July was estimated at 3.9%, which is lower than the final rates of 4.0% for June and May. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 7.6%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for July was estimated at 5.4%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 5.9% and May’s final rate of 5.8%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 10.2%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for July was estimated at 66.4%, which is higher than June’s final rate of 66.3% and May’s final rate of 66.1%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 65.5%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in July was estimated at 61.7%, which is higher than the final rate of 61.6% for both June and May. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 61.5%.

July’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

A Conversation on the Regional Business Fund

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EDC Hosts September 8th Conversation on the Regional Business Fund

Please join St. Croix EDC on Wednesday, September 8th starting at 11:00 a.m. for an informative conversation on the Regional Business Fund (RBF), a flexible source of financing for new and expanding businesses in the seven county region of west central Wisconsin, including St. Croix. The presentation will run for approximately 60-minutes with time for questions throughout.

Click here to register and receive the zoom link.

The RBF was launched in 2007 following a couple years of conversations with units of local government possessing loan funds capitalized by community development block grants (CDBGs). The former Wisconsin Department of Commerce selected the west central region of the state as a pilot program to consolidate numerous community loan funds into a single fund.

Over time, the RBF has been acknowledged as a model program for the administration of supplemental loans across a region in support of new business start-ups and continued capital investment by existing ones.

The program has changed slightly over time, so lenders, local economic development organizations, and expanding businesses will appreciate the updates from RBF staff.

Tobi LeMahieu, the RBF’s fund manager and loan specialist Heidi Biesterveld will lead the discussion.

Click here to register and receive the zoom link.

Cost Segregation Studies Zoom Event Recording

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Zoom Recording Of
A Conversation on
Cost Segregation Studies
& the 179D Energy Efficient
Tax Deduction

On Tuesday, August 17th an informative conversation on cost segregation studies and the 179D energy efficient tax deduction was held on Zoom. Steve Barnes of Wipfli LLP lead the discussion. You can watch the recording of the event here, and download the slides here.

Cost Segregation Studies
A cost segregation study provides an engineering-based analysis of the costs associated with acquiring, constructing or renovating a building. A properly completed study can deliver additional depreciation deductions and help to accelerate depreciation; increase current tax deductions; defer income tax; and increase cash flow. Even if the purchase, construction or building expansion occurred in a prior year, a cost segregation study and simple change in accounting method allows the tax filer to claim depreciation deductions of prior years without having to amend tax returns of prior years.

A cost segregation study can benefit anyone who has, or is in the process of purchasing an existing building, constructing a new one, or constructing leasehold improvements.

Many properties can benefit from a study, including manufacturing and industrial plants; healthcare and long-term care facilities; financial institutions; automobile dealerships; distribution centers and warehouses; office buildings; restaurants and hotels; retail and convenience stores; shopping centers; and apartment buildings.

179D Energy Efficient Tax Deduction
Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, tax filers may qualify for the 179D energy efficiency tax deduction on construction or capital improvement costs designed to increase a building’s energy efficiency. Benefits of the deduction include gaining a maximum deduction of $1.80 per square foot when energy and power costs are reduced by 50 percent; if those costs are reduced by less than 50 percent, the filer may be entitled to a deduction of $.60 to $1.25 per square foot; and if the property is government-owned, the architects, engineers or contractors may be assigned the tax deduction, despite not having made the capital expenditure.

About Steve Barnes
Steven Barnes is a principal on the Wipfli cost segregation team with expertise in the engineering approach of cost segregation for both new construction projects and purchased properties. His understanding of construction finances and his ability to analyze construction documents are important assets in the process of cost segregation projects. Steve’s experience also includes Section 263A repair versus capitalization review tangible property studies and Section 168 fixed asset disposal studies.

Steve has years of experience adjusting the timing of deductions to provide clients with tax savings. Prior to joining Wipfli LLP, he helped lead a cost segregation practice at a regional CPA firm. Steve specializes in various industries including commercial real estate, hotel and convention, retail and wholesale, manufacturing, food processing, health care, residential, and auto dealerships.

$10,000 Main Street Bounce Back Grants

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$10,000 Bounceback Grants to Small Businesses Announced

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is teaming up with the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission to make the $10,000 Bounceback Grants to small businesses a reality. The program provides $10,000 grants to businesses moving into vacant commercial spaces. Economic Development partners like St. Croix EDC want to help small businesses build a solid foundation for long-term success and strengthen Wisconsin’s main streets and commercial corridors at the same time. Click here to receive the details. Click here to download the application.

School Bells Ring (Are You Listening?)


School Bells Ring (Are You Listening?)


The recent zooooom heard throughout the St. Croix Valley was not Mr. Jeff Bezos’ rocket returning from the edge of space.

It’s believed the zooooom was that of time slipping by, minute-by-minute, day-by-day.

And soon, school districts and college campuses will spring to life, starting with teacher and professor prep, orientation, class schedules, bus routes, and maybe a bad case of first day jitters.

Parents may say the start of school can’t come soon enough. Opinions from students differ, however.

The lyrics to Winter Wonderland, as sung by Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang, could easily transition to School bells ring, are you listening? . . . A beautiful sight, we’re (not) happy tonight. Walkin’ in a new building for the first time (wonderland). It is believed the old school bell and first generation hallway ringers were replaced by gentle chimes long, long ago.

Back-to-school shopping, even during a return to normalcy, is big business. In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) tracks spending trends and says it will reach record amounts in 2021. It could hit $37.1 billion, way up from $33.9 billion spent last year. Back-to-college spending could reach a record $71 billion, up from $67.7 billion in 2020.

Families with children in elementary through high school will spend an average of $848.90 on school items, or $59 more than last year, according to NRF. College students and families plan to spend an average of $1,200.32 on their items. This is an increase of $141 last year, and over half of the increase, around $80, is attributable to electronics and dorm or apartment furnishings.

Without using a calculator, take NRF’s spending for two K-12 students plus one incoming college freshman and the total is a scary number for any household.

Shopping habits or patterns have changed over the years. Where did the Sears catalog go? NRF says the most popular destinations for K-12 shoppers are online (48 percent), department stores (48 percent), discount stores (44 percent), clothing stores (41 percent), office supplies stores (27 percent) and electronics stores (27 percent). The top destinations for college shoppers include online (43 percent), department stores (33 percent), discount stores (30 percent), office supplies stores (29 percent) and college bookstores (28 percent). Side note: what about thrift stores as a way to ensure the college grunge look?

CNBC recently reported 16 states will offer some kind of sales tax holiday on school supplies. Neither Wisconsin nor Minnesota is among them. And the trip to Iowa may be cost prohibitive.

Families in the St. Croix Valley are savvy on many fronts, including shopping. Back-to-school deals will emerge. But don’t wait too long. Another news outlet reported on product shortages and supply chain problems which could make it hard to find essentials, however essentials are defined.

Please remember the main street shops and restaurants in case an extra special purchase or lunch is part of the itinerary. Don’t tell NRF. It’ll skew their survey.

Happy shopping in the St. Croix Valley. ’La-La-La. School bells ring.