economy

Marti Mikkelson

Updated on Oct. 21 at 12:40 p.m.

Strauss Brands is no longer looking to build a slaughterhouse at Century City, which is on Milwaukee's north side, the company's president and CEO announced Monday afternoon.

What do goldfish have to do with the global trade balance?

That's a question that has Ken Fischer reeling. He sells rare goldfish. And goldfish — the live pet, not the snack food — are tucked in on page 31 of list three of Chinese imports that face tariffs of 25%.

LaToya Dennis

What does it take to get people out of their homes and willing to sit in a restaurant these days?

That's a question a lot of businesses are grappling with in the era of Uber Eats, Grubhub and other food delivery services. Across the United States and in the Milwaukee area, some developers are betting on food halls.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Donald Trump's agriculture secretary said Tuesday during a stop in Wisconsin that he doesn't know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters following an appearance at the World Dairy Expo in Madison that it's getting harder for farmers to get by on milking smaller herds.

Rusty / stock.adobe.com

Wisconsin's paper industry has faced many challenges as mills close and people switch to digital. But there is one sector of the paper industry that is growing: specialty paper.

"Specialty paper goes across a broad gamut of things," says Steve Ottone, technical service manager at Omya — a chemical industry company headquartered in Switzerland. "Think about the ways that paper touches your life. Say you have your morning cup of tea. In that tea bag what actually holds the tea?"

The gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it's been in the past 50 years — despite the median U.S. income hitting a new record in 2018, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is heading to Japan on Friday. This is his first international trade mission since being elected. He's scheduled to visit Tokyo, Yokohama and Chiba City. He's also planning to attend this year's Midwest U.S. -Japan Association conference, along with some other governors.

Evers' trip continues Wisconsin's long association with Japan. That connection got a big boost in 1973 when a Japanese firm, Kikkoman Foods, began making soy sauce in Walworth.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is acting as a cheering section for the U.S. economy. And at least on Monday, investors were cheering along. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 250 points or 1%. The S&P 500 jumped 1.2% and the Nasdaq was up 1.35%.

President Trump and his team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. At the same time, the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth.

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Stocks plunged Wednesday on deepening worries over a slowdown in the global economy.

The Dow closed down 800 points, or about 3%. Investors have been whipsawed in recent days by mixed signals emerging from the Trump administration about tariffs and the escalating trade war with China.

The jitters were exacerbated amid worrisome economic data from two big countries. Germany posted negative growth in the latest quarter, and China's growth in industrial output fell to a 17-year low.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is postponing some of its new tariffs on Chinese imports — a significant retreat in the trade war that has rattled financial markets on both sides of the Pacific.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Stocks continue to tumble around the world Monday after China allowed its currency to slide, in the latest sign of economic tensions between Beijing and Washington.

After falling more than 900 points earlier in the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 767 points, a drop of 2.9%. The blue chip index has fallen more than 6% from last month's all-time high, while the S&P 500 index lost ground for the sixth day in a row.

Technology stocks such as Apple and IBM were hit especially hard.

Higher prices will be coming to stores this fall, retailers warn, if President Trump follows through with his threat to slap new tariffs on Chinese imports.

The White House pressed the tariff threat on Friday, even as Trump announced a new agreement aimed at boosting beef exports to Europe. A day earlier, Trump threatened to set a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products imported from China.

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.

Henry / stock.adobe.com

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.

foxconn-wisconsin
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Work is well underway at the Foxconn construction site in Racine County. The Taiwanese electronics giant continues to promise it will create up to 13,000 jobs at the huge LCD screen factory. Foxconn says it will invest $10 billion by 2020 to build a “world class” manufacturing campus.

But the project continues to have critics. 

Updated at 4:03 p.m. ET

Despite enormous pressure from President Trump, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it is increasing interest rates by a quarter point.

The Fed said in a statement it is raising the key borrowing rate to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent — the highest level in a decade, when the economy was in the early stages of the financial crisis and the beginning of the Great Recession. The Dow ended the day down 352 points, or 1.5 percent, after the Fed announcement. The index was up nearly 300 points earlier.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

U.S. stock markets recovered most of their losses after plunging on reports that a Chinese technology executive was arrested in Canada. The arrest escalated U.S.-China tensions at a time when the two sides vowed to work to ease their trade war.

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