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Information and data collection strives to provide insight into performance (metrics), regional economic health (data), and trend line information/data that shapes strategy or anticipates impactful change to the regional community/economy.  The information provides the content for a forum for discussion, for community conversations that can anticipate change and lead to shifts in priorities, new tactics, and new capacities resulting in superior strategic effort and workable metrics that guide actions and challenge the work of the New North organizations and businesses.

The New North Business Intelligence Committee was formed to explore data insights and help identify trends that may point to future opportunities or disruptions, which should be considered in making strategic decisions for future growth and competitiveness.  The articles included in the IntelBriefs section here, explore future implications in a number of areas to consider as you chart your future direction for your business or organization.  Additional survey results and reports generated from the Business Intelligence Council can be found HERE.   

National Association of Manufacturers - Monday Economic Outlook - 5-3-21

St. Norbert College College 2021 State of the Economy - Where have we been and what are the challenges ahead? 

Department of Revenue Economic Intel Presentation - December 9, 2020 

Wisconsin's Recovery from the COVID Contraction - St. Norbert Economic Intel Presentation


Check out articles on trends, disruptions, digital transformation, and important news to help inform your strategy decision making,

Video Playback of the Business & Community Development Training Camp featuring St. Norbert College's Economist Marc Schaffer on Scenario Trends in COVID -19 Recovery efforts and what that means for our economy and future.  

The Golden Era of the Great Lakes Region is yet to come, but we must prepare to capture the opportunity

 November 2020 - Oliver Buechse, Owner, My Strategy Choice

In the New North, our climate, our quality of life, and many of our economic activities are tied to the proximity of the lake.  We are part of the Great Lakes Region, or the “Fresh Coast” as some are beginning to call the area.  But the image of our region is dominated by other terms.  While “Heartland” has at least somewhat of a positive connotation, others like “Rust Belt” or “Flyover Country” indicate a perceived lack of opportunity.

It is time to introduce a new way of thinking:  I believe that over the coming decades, the Great Lakes Region will rise to being one of the most prosperous regions in the world.  And if we in the New North play our cards just right, we could be among the greatest beneficiaries of that evolution.

Is this just mad, wishful thinking or is there any basis to this claim?  Let’s take it one step at a time.  Here are the key trends which drive my thinking.



November 2020 - Jeffrey Sachse, Interim Director, UW Oshkosh Center for Customized Research and Services

The lessons of the past year can be distilled into a favorite Oscar Wilde quote, “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” Few could have anticipated the arrival of a generational pandemic that brought the longest period of economic expansion in American history to a grinding halt. Similarly, the year 2020 also reminds us that we lack an instruction manual on so many aspects of life affected by COVID-19, not the least of which have been the numerous disruptions to businesses that have occurred. As such, it is difficult to analyze the condition of the New North economy through the lens of conventional economic indicators without some context.


The region’s labor market, for example, has largely recovered from the earliest days of the pandemic. The September 2020 unemployment rate of 4.7 percent is vastly improved from the 13.8 percent rate observed in April. Conversely, the New North’s labor force remains 800 workers smaller than September 2019 despite having nearly 17,000 workers return to payrolls over the past six months. This is both a function of the pandemic as well as of demographics as the region’s population continues to both age and contract on net. MORE... 


November 2020 - 

Jerry Murphy, Executive Director-Northeast WI Educational Resource Alliance (NEWERA) &  Dr. Jeff Rafn, President-Northeast WI Technical College (NWTC)

COVID-19 has changed the way we teach and the way we learn.   

In education, the mission remains very much the same, but the strategies, tactics, delivery modes, etc. are all adapting, learning, and absorbing change.  Along the way, education and training is bringing innovation to legacy teaching formats at an incredible pace; it is also bringing attention to the necessity of hands-on education while introducing multiple and often creative ways to deliver education remotely.  Once we are past the constraints of operating in a pandemic, we will end up with a much-improved educational product, garnering the best of both virtual and in-person learning worlds.

In Joanne Cheng’s article on “what Workforce Education is Learning from the Pandemic” (https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-08-15-what-workforce-education-is-learning-from-the-pandemic) she identifies a number of COVID-19 impacts on workforce training that were just below the surface, rising at the normal pace of change in education and training models, until the arrival of the pandemic, when everyone jumped to overdrive mode.  MORE...


December 2020

Matthew Christman, Director, Research & Technology, New North, Inc.

Starting in April the New North, Inc., actively encouraged residents of Northeast Wisconsin to participate in the 2020 Decennial Census.  Promotion through the #CensusChallenge and collaboration with local partners encouraged a target response rate of 80%.  April news and partner promotion included: 

Distribution of census materials started in mid-March.  New North initiated collection of data related to reporting by county on April 7th, at that time values ranged from 10.2 to 64.7 percent.  MORE...

Labor Market Resiliency in the New North

December 2020 - Peyton Jack, CBEA Research Analyst Center for Business & Economic Analysis St. Norbert College

The 2020 recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented both in terms of the suddenness of the economic deterioration and the magnitude of its effects. The changes in consumer and business spending brought on by the pandemic combined with mitigation approaches designed to slow the spread of the disease resulted in businesses being forced to shut their doors and layoff or furlough labor immediately. To provide some context, weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance peaked during the Great Recession at 665,000  nationally during the 15th month of the recession. This March, weekly initial claims peaked at a staggering 6,867,000 early during this recession, signaling this has been more than a slight stumble. However, as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi famously said, “The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.” Although the NEW North economy has not yet fully recovered, it has weathered the storm better than the U.S. economy overall, which speaks to the resiliency of the labor market in our region.

In the 4 months preceding the March slowdown, Northeastern Wisconsin’s unemployment rate hovered between 3.8 and 4.9 percent before exploding in April to 16.2 percent.  MORE...