Across the country, the economy is slowly but steadily improving. More companies are hiring, consumers are spending again, the stock market is tickling record highs and many Americans say they are feeling more optimistic about the future.
But Wisconsin stands somewhat apart from this trend, consistently and stubbornly lagging in job creation and finding itself near the bottom of many measures of economic health.
Sam Breidenbach knows that uneasy feeling. Before the Great Recession, when most people were feeling pretty flush, he had 20 employees working for him at TDS Custom Construction. The home repair and remodeling business was doing well.
Today, Breidenbach counts 14 employees at his east-side Madison firm, and while things seem to be picking up a bit of steam in early 2013, he’s still not in a position to hire more staff.
“No way I could go back to where I was,,” he says. “I’d like to add guys but we just don’t have the business right now.”