THU AM News: Survey of Oshkosh businesses finds greater optimism about state’s direction; MU poll finds widespread support for medical marijuanaPosted by On

— Oshkosh-area business leaders are more optimistic about Wisconsin’s business climate in 2024 than they were last year, a recent survey suggests. 

The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce’s latest annual survey found 75% of respondents feel the state is headed in the right direction, compared to 42% in the 2023 survey. 

“They’re generally feeling very positive about where we’re headed in 2024,” Chamber President and CEO Rob Kleman said this week in an interview. “I think 2023 shaped up to be very positive as well from the results that we’ve seen here, but they believe that Oshkosh and our region, our area is doing well, and we’re in a position of strength.” 

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said their 2023 sales had exceeded the previous year, while 65% had higher profits, 48% added jobs and 81% increased wages from 2022 levels. 

Looking ahead to the rest of this year, 70% of respondents expect sales to outperform 2023 and 57% expect to hire more people in 2024. 

Meanwhile, 76% of respondents rate their company’s outlook as “good to excellent” in the next six months. That rises to 89% for the next 12 months and 93% for the next one to three years. 

And while 47% said they have unfilled job openings, that percentage has fallen from 55% in last year’s survey. 

But local businesses continue to struggle with finding qualified workers, Kleman said. When asked about efforts to fill job openings in the past three months, 68% of respondents…

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