Green Bay: Economy
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Green Bay's economy is highly diversified. The majority of jobs in the area are service providing—following sectors are goods producing; trade, transportation, and utilities; manufacturing; and government. One of every five jobs in the county is in manufacturing, many of which are within or directly related to the paper industry. Growing industries in Green Bay are healthcare, insurance, and transportation. Tourism is growing, as well. A study in the late 1990s found that the Green Bay Packers generated $144 million in total annual spending in Brown County, 1,620 full- and part-time jobs, and $9.6 million in annual tax revenue to local and state government.
Brown County is among the top four jobbing, wholesale, and distribution points in Wisconsin. Green Bay is the site of a petroleum storage terminal. The city ranks as a major retailing center for northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
Items and goods produced: tissue paper and paper products, cheese, food products, lumber, woodwork, paper mill machinery, paper boxes, clothing, steel furniture, auto parts, dairy products, gloves, fertilizers, foundry products, brick tile, sheet metal, awnings
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Businesses
The principal economic development organization in Green Bay is Advance, a publicly and privately supported branch of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Advance uses its online database to inform interested business about available sites and buildings. The Business Retention committee assists companies in troubleshooting municipal service problems, job training needs, and other issues. The Chamber's Small Business Council assists and meets regularly to promote the interests of businesses with up to 300 employees. The Advance Business Development Center is one of the most successful incubators in Wisconsin, having graduated more than 100 start-up firms by allowing them to lease increasingly larger amounts of shared light industrial and office space as their firms grow.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Institute (WEDI) are two nonprofit agencies that provide information and financial services, legal and legislative assistance, and networking opportunities for their member businesses. On the government side, the Division of Business Development of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce provides technical assistance and financial incentives to businesses in the areas of business planning, site selection, capitalization, permits, training and recruitment, and research and development. On April 28, 2000, Governor Tommy G. Thompson signed into law a bill that created the Wisconsin Technology Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan board that serves to create, develop and retain science and technology-based business in Wisconsin, and to serve as an advisor to the Governor and the Legislature. The Council also serves as the key link between the state's colleges and universities and the business expertise and capital offered by the financial service industry. Recently the firm published its "Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy" as a blueprint for its efforts over the next two decades.
Job training programs
Partners in Education (PIE), coordinated by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, works with businesses, educators, and community organizations to provide skills that help students transitioning from school to work.
Downtown Green Bay, Inc. brings together people, organizations, and funds to implement and facilitate downtown development projects. As of 2005 the organization had assisted with Baylake Bank's restoration of the old Boston Store property; a $4.5 million, 26,000 square-foot addition to the YWCA; construction of a $16 million, four-story building for the Nicolet National Bank at the corner of Cherry and Washington; and won approval from the Common Council on a riverfront redevelopment plan that will include an urban beach and boardwalk. Other projects in the works were a major hotel/condominium project for the old Younkers Building site on Washington, and a proposed $10 million riverfront loft development. Additionally, the Green Bay Packers completed a $295 million renovation of historic Lambeau Field in 2003, adding 11,625 seats, 166 private boxes, twice as many concession stands, 500 restrooms, and a new concourse.
Economic Development Information: Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, 400 S. Washington St., PO Box 1660, Green Bay, WI 54305-1660; telephone (920)437-8704; fax (920)437-1024
The Port of Green Bay is an international and domestic port with a navigation season extending from April through December. More than 200 commercial vessels transport cargo through the channel each year; port tonnage averages more than 2.4 million metric tons annually. Linking the port with inland markets are an interstate highway, air cargo service, 40 motor freight carriers and the Green Bay & Western, Soo Line, Chicago & Northwestern, and Escanaba & Lake Superior railroads.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
A relatively diverse economy and an attractive small-town lifestyle have kept Green Bay's job outlook ahead of the curve in the early 2000s, despite a nationwide rise in unemployment in recent years. The local education prospects are excellent on both a secondary and university/technical level, providing a pool of well-trained workers. During years of strong economic growth, however, firms have often found a shortage of qualified workers and recruitment and retention become issues of concern. Partners in Education (PIE), coordinated by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, provides a link between businesses, educators, and community organizations with an objective to assist students in developing the skills necessary for successful transition from school to an eventual career involving lifelong learning.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Green Bay metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of non-agricultural labor force: 167,900
Number of workers employed in . . .
mining and construction: 9,100
trade, transportation and public utilities: 36,000
financial activities: 11,000
professional and business services: 14,700
educational and health services: 20,500
leisure and hospitality: 15,100
other services: 7,100
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.19 (statewide figure)
Unemployment rate: 5.6% (February 2005)
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Green Bay ranks consistently below the national average in health care, utilities, housing, food, and miscellaneous goods and services.
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Green Bay area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $277,172
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 96.7 (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: Ranges from 4.6% to 6.75% (tax year 2005)
State sales tax rate: 5.0%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None
Property tax rate: $25.75 per $1,000 of assessed value
Economic Information: Advance, Green Bay Area Economic Development, PO Box 1660, Green Bay, WI 54305-1660; telephone (920)437-8704.
Discuss this city on our active forum.