The Southwest region is composed of 6 counties; Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, and Rock. Rock County is the dominant county in the region accounting for 52 percent of the region's population, 52 percent of the region's labor force, and 56 percent of the nonfarm jobs. Rock County has a strong employment base in durable goods manufacturing. It is estimated that close to one in every ten employees working in Rock County is involved in the production of automobiles, either in assembly or in the production of raw materials for assembly. All over the Southwest region, manufacturing is the dominant industry. Five of the ten largest private employers in the region are in the manufacturing industry, and four of the ten largest industries are in manufacturing. More than one in four jobs in the Southwest Wisconsin are in manufacturing.
Lafayette County is one of only four Wisconsin Counties where 40 percent or more of total county employment is directly related to farming or farm related products. Richland County fell a bit short of being included with Lafayette, 38 percent of all employment in Richland County is directly related to farming or farm related products.
According to Census 2000, the population of the region was 292,392 an increase of 7.2 percent since the 1990 Census. The size of the region's labor force was 150,500 with almost 144,000 of those persons employed. The region's annual average unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in 2000. Also as of 2000, there were 125,574 nonfarm jobs in the region, an increase of 15.5 percent since 1992. The average annual pay in the six county region was $27,637, which was 90.1 percent of the state average. The more metropolitan Rock County had average wages of $31,137 in 2000, higher than the state average.
Wisconsin’s Southwest WDA has 4,435 sq. miles in land area and a population density of 68 people per square mile. From 1970 to 2007, WDA 11’s population grew by 15.6%.
The WDA average household size is 2.53 people compared to an average family size of 3.04 people. WDA 11 has a total of 182* K-12 public schools. There are 7 post-secondary schools, including 3 WI Tech College Campuses. The average ACT score is 21.7, which is 3% below the State’s average of 22.3.*
In 2007, trade, transportation & utilities was the largest of the 11 major industrial sectors. within WDA11 with an average annual wage of $28,343.** Per capita income grew by 33.6% between 1995 and 2005 (adjusted for inflation). ***
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
* Source: DPI
**Source: DWD, BWT, LMI, QCEW
***Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis