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Sheboygan County’s GDP among best in the United States

Posted by SCEDC on 9 February 2015 | 0 Comments

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Sheboygan County – The value of goods and services produced in Sheboygan County in 2013 increased at a rate bettered only by a few other metro areas in the United States, further evidence that the Sheboygan area is fueling an economic surge that is an attraction for future economic development initiatives.

Gross domestic product, a term typically applied to the economies of nations, also is measured closer to home. In Sheboygan County—technically known as the Sheboygan Metropolitan Statistical Area—the gross domestic product jumped 3.4 percent last year. This performance is double the national average of 1.7 percent.

“There's no question when you look at these numbers, either from a regional or national viewpoint, Sheboygan County is driving an economic wave in the heart of the Lakeshore,” said Dane Checolinski, Sheboygan County's Economic Development Corporation Director.

“GDP is considered one of the strongest economic indicators that economists, observers and others look at to measure the overall vitality of an economy in a given geographical area.”


The government defines “real GDP” as the value of an area's economic output adjusted for price changes such as inflation or deflation.

The bureau fixed the value of all goods and services produced in Sheboygan County in 2013 at over $6.1 billion, larger than over 40 United Nations recognized nations.

Overall, real GDP increased in 292 of the nation's 381 metropolitan areas in 2013.

Checolinski said Sheboygan County's GDP growth is important for two reasons.

“The first is that it's built upon successive growth, as it should be,” he said, noting the county has posted GDP growth every year since 2010.

“The second is that it is accelerating, particularly over the past year.”

From 2012 to 2013, Sheboygan County experienced significant GDP growth in the construction, manufacturing, and professional services sectors.

“One of the great things about the Sheboygan County story is that it is broad-based in both goods and services. Our durable and non-durable numbers are moving upward driven by our concentration in both food and goods built to be used for a long period of time. Our growth in management and insurance is also driving the local economy upward.”

Nondurable goods are immediately used by consumers or have a lifespan of three years or less. Examples include food and clothing, cosmetics and cleaning products, fuel, medication, office supplies, packaging and containers, paper and paper products, personal products, rubber, plastics, textiles, clothing and footwear.


National growth in manufacturing GDP was up about 2 percent in 2013.

The local manufacturing sector—which in 2013 accounted for about one third percent of the metro area's total GDP—grew 5.1 percent, at two and a half times the national performance.


Checolinski said the recent GDP numbers complement other local economic indicators to show that Sheboygan County's economy is continually improving.

Specifically, he called attention to:

  • Declining unemployment rates: Sheboygan County’s unemployment rate has declined more than any other county over the past three years. In fact, only five counties now have a lower unemployment rate that Sheboygan County, according to the most recent data available, at 3.9%
  • Residential real estate activity that is escalating and in some cases similar levels before the Great Recession. Much of the distressed housing stock was absorbed in 2013.
  • Significantly lower industrial vacancy rates that have initiated new construction and the potential for speculative construction.
  • Growing retail sales that indicate disposal income and consumer confidence levels steadily rising. The 3,000 additional paychecks that have been added in Sheboygan County over the past three years have generated an additional $140 million in earnings annually.
  • Demand for market rate housing in several Sheboygan County communities. As of the 2010 census over 8,600 commuters traveled in to Sheboygan County for work each day. It is reasonable to project that with the employment growth of the past three years this number now likely exceeds 10,000 daily commuters traveling to Sheboygan County jobs. “Indirectly, our economic surge is likely impacting the market-rate housing in adjacent counties due to the fact it is simply not available at the present time,” noted Checolinski. “A recent study revealed 0.4 percent vacancy rate for market-rate apartments in Sheboygan County.

With the local surge in hiring in 2014, it is reasonable to expect that the 2014 annual GDP numbers, which will not be available until about late September 2015, will show even more momentum. Checolinski reported “We are forecasting several thousand additional jobs over the next three years which should fuel the development of additional retail and housing. The developers that move forward first will command the preferred sites and of course begin to tap into the surging buying power.”


For Additional Information, Contact:
Dane Checolinski, Director
Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation
(920) 452-2479