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Work in Lake Wissota business park

Work continues on the new Nordson Corporation building in the Lake Wissota Business Park.

With a new year almost here, business in Chippewa Falls appears set to continue developing in 2019.

Wisconsin’s business and labor environment are broadly doing well by unemployment and labor statistics.

According to numbers the Department of Workforce Development released Thursday, Wisconsin’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November remained unchanged at 3 percent, continuing a 10-month streak of being at or below 3 percent.

It’s also 0.7 percent lower than the national average.

And, according to the DWD, it’s been a good year for job growth.

According to DWD numbers, from November 2017 to November 2018, Wisconsin added 40,500 private-sector jobs and 43,800 total non-farm jobs, which it called “statistically significant.”

The state also added 19,000 manufacturing jobs and 8,400 construction jobs over the same time-period.

“Wisconsin’s economy continued to demonstrate its success in November,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said in his release.

“Individuals who are looking to break into employment or find a new career in one of Wisconsin’s many high-growth industry sectors should take advantage of the job-seekers labor market by visiting their local job center and speak with an employment and training representative today.”

In Chippewa Falls, those same factors are at work.

Mike Jordan, Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce president, said that on the whole, the business and industry in the area has recovered from economic instability a decade ago.

“Overall our business community is very solid,” Jordan said. “We do face challenges with it, but those challenges are because business is good.”

That’s because the same low unemployment can brings a very tight labor market, leaving employers sometimes struggling to find workers.

Jordan said that additionally, any workers companies can bring into the area struggle with a lack of housing availability.

Jordan points to things like the continued expansion of the Lake Wissota Business Park as signs of entering 2019 with continued business growth.

Nordson Corporation broke ground on a 145,000 square foot facility in November for a world headquarters for its EDI and premier extrusion and coating product line.

Relocation of these operations to the new facility will begin in the summer of 2019 and be complete by late 2020.

He also noted the growth like Huffcut Concrete’s expansion near Lake Hallie and the construction underway on the Oakleaf Clinic facility.

For its part, Jordan said the chamber works to help bring in outside interest, helps find business development funding, advertise broadly for the area and also works with schools to encourage exploration in the various industries.

Despite having around 6,000 manufacturing jobs in the area currently, Jordan said the chamber still finds people with the perception that industrial work is “dark and dirty” despite many shifts in technology and in the types of industries here.

“And that’s just not the case,” Jordan said.

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Chippewa Herald reporter

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