economy

Chuck Quirmbach

Four low-income areas of Milwaukee continue to be designated "Promise Zones," where city officials say they're making special efforts to create jobs, improve education and reduce crime. On Saturday, a bicycle tour through one of the zones on Milwaukee's north side offered both a look at the promise of the neighborhoods and some of the challenges.

Facebook is branching into cryptocurrency, unveiling a new blockchain-based currency called Libra that could challenge bitcoin. Libra will be controlled by a nonprofit group in which Facebook will share responsibilities with companies ranging from Mastercard and PayPal to Uber and eBay.

The currency, which is still in the testing phase, is expected to launch in 2020. Facebook says Libra will have very low fees and that people using its apps will make a number of payments simply by sending a text message.

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Since the construction of the Bucks’ Fiserv Forum started three years ago, much has changed in that part of town. The area, which some have dubbed the “Deer District,” has taken huge leaps forward over the past year. But there's still much to be done.

As the final bits of rubble are cleared from the former Bradley Center, the Fiserv Forum's limelight is shining a bit brighter. 

VTT Studio / stock.adobe.com

Municipalities in Wisconsin are very limited in the kinds of taxes they can levy. Every kind of tax is highly regulated by the state. That includes the room tax, which is placed on hotel rooms and other overnight stays in Wisconsin. The tax has become increasingly popular in communities throughout the state. 

Updated at 12:25 p.m. ET Friday

President Trump says he will begin imposing tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico beginning June 10, unless that country does more to help reduce illegal immigration from Central America.

Shares of automaker stocks fell Friday morning following the news. It also drew a response from carmakers — many of whom have built facilities in Mexico in recent years to take advantage of cheaper labor and easy access to the U.S.

Jason Rieve

With more than $60 billion worth of manufactured goods each year, Wisconsin is one of the country’s top manufacturing states. Many of the items produced here are exported to other countries around the world. The number of people employed in manufacturing industries is also impressive, as nearly a half million Wisconsinites make their living in this critical sector of the economy. That’s why the continued debate over tariffs imposed by our government is so important to people living in the Badger state.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump continues to tweet messages claiming the U.S. is winning its staredown with China over tariffs and trade. After some thaws in the relationship earlier in his presidency, Trump and his administration have upped the rhetoric and put tariffs in place. The goal of the tariffs is to shift the balance of trade more in favor of the U.S.

The Trump administration is preparing a new list of $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that would be hit with tariffs of up to 25%, after China retaliated Monday in the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. ET

China is imposing new retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, days after the Trump administration said it would impose higher tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. The latest tit-for-tat exchange comes as trade talks have failed to yield a deal.

U.S. stock prices plunged on the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 617 points Monday, or 2.4%, and the Nasdaq composite fell 3.4%.

ronstik/stock.adobe.com

If you’ve bought or sold a house recently, or just seen the forest of for sale signs around town, you know the Milwaukee real estate market is hot right now. Demand is outstripping supply in many parts of town. 

READ: 'Milwaukee Magazine' 2019 Real Estate Guide Demonstrates The City's Cresting Housing Market

Updated at 3:08 p.m ET

Frustrated by the large number of Central Americans who have been entering the country from Mexico, President Trump doubled down on his threat to close the Southern U.S. border.

"I'm ready to close it," Trump said Tuesday. "If we don't make a deal with Congress, the border is going to be closed, 100 percent."

Chuck Quirmbach

The farmers whose cows supply much of the milk consumed in Wisconsin, or used in products like cheese and yogurt, are having a tough time.

Eight percent, or nearly 700, of the state's dairy farmers left the business last year for economic reasons. A few thousand more farmers got out over the previous five years. Those still at it say being creative is one of the things they have to do to keep going.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy added only 20,000 jobs — far fewer than expected — last month, the Labor Department said Friday. But the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from January's 4 percent, and earnings growth picked up.

The increase in jobs was below the 180,000 projected by private analysts and the smallest gain since September 2017. February's increase was dramatically smaller than January's revised gain of 311,000 and December's revised 227,000.

Chuck Quirmbach

A report issued this week shows jobs in the solar industry in Wisconsin grew by 3 percent in 2018. But the state's largest electric utility, Milwaukee-based We Energies, also hopes more people will consider joining its company. 

The report by The Solar Foundation indicates the U.S. solar industry employed 242,000 people last year. That was down 3 percent nationally.

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the U.S. economy than the Trump administration previously estimated, the White House acknowledged.

President Trump's economists have now doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week.

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