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Wood County Economic Health

Newsline 9 received this news release announcing Vital Signs, a new Community Foundation report tracking south Wood County's economic health.

 The Vital Signs analysis was led by Dr. Randy Cray at UW-Stevens Point's Central Wisconsin Economic Research Bureau:    


Tracking Local Economic Health; Vital Signs Report Released

(Wisconsin Rapids, WI, April 20, 2011) Community Foundation of Greater South Wood County recently released Vital Signs, a new report tracking the pulse of south Wood County's economic health.


Vital Signs is a unique report that documents nine economic indicators since 2000, such as homelessness, foreclosures, and unemployment figures. For example, Vital Signs reports that since 2001, the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch in south Wood County has risen 63%. Programs like FoodShare and Medicaid have seen increases of 79% and 32% since 2005.


The data shows increased levels of financial distress in the region. However, in recent years this is beginning to show improvement in some areas.


"I am confident that greater south Wood County's Vital Signs will continue to improve as we move forward together," said Community Foundation CEO Kelly Lucas. "The difficult economic environment that our community has faced during the past decade is re­flected in the data. But we must understand where we come from in order to make necessary changes and measure future growth."


State and Federal budget cuts will impact the community's ability to support individuals and families in need. Vital Signs shows where these areas of critical need are so area groups and organizations can allocate their time and financial resources to provide the greatest impact for the community.


Making positive change on any one of these indicators requires collaboration between organizations. Many organizations played a role in this report by contributing data and information, such as Wood County Human Services and South Wood County Homelessness Initiative Committee.


Vital Signs is a project of Community Foundation of Greater South Wood County. The Community Foundation contracted with Central Wisconsin Economic Research Bureau, led by Dr. Randy Cray, to provide an in-depth analysis of this research. Vital Signs data comes from a number of credible sources, including governmental agencies, labor statistics and census figures.


Download Vital Signs from the Community Foundation's website at www.cfswc.org. Or, to request free, printed copies contact the Community Foundation at 715.423.3863.


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