Wisconsin is the 21st largest economy in the US, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $338 billion. The per capita personal income was $55,487 in 2020. In January 2021, the unemployment rate in the Badger State was 3.8%, which was lower than the national average of 6.3%.
Manufacturing has a huge presence in Wisconsin. It represents 20% of the state's GDP and employs nearly 458,000 workers. Some of the notable companies in the industry include Kohler Company, Mercury Marine, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, John Deere, Briggs & Stratton, Milwaukee Electric Tool Company, Caterpillar Inc., Joy Global, Oshkosh Corporation and Harley-Davidson.
Small business owners choose to set up shop in Wisconsin for a number of reasons, including access to support agencies, a good transportation infrastructure, a rich manufacturing history, and a renewed commitment to entrepreneurs and start-ups. To keep the tradition alive and bring in new opportunities, Wisconsin offers significant tax incentives to retain the work in the state.
Here is a list of small business statistics from the state of Wisconsin:
- There are 456,884 small businesses in Wisconsin that represent 99.4% of all businesses in the state.
- Wisconsin residents launch around 40,000 new businesses each year.
- To form a corporation in Wisconsin, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The filing fee is $100.
- Small businesses in Wisconsin employ 1.4 million workers who account for 45.9% of the entire state workforce.
- Three industries have the highest number of small business employees:
- Manufacturing — 205,883
- Health Care and Social Assistance — 175,855
- Accommodation and Food Services — 168,099
- There are 7,607 small business exporters in the state of Wisconsin who account for 28.4% of the state’s $20.6 billion worth of export revenue.
- State law requires that every new Wisconsin LLC designates a Wisconsin registered agent that will be available during regular business hours at a physical address within the state.
- In order to form an LLC (limited liability company) in Wisconsin, you need to file your Articles of Organization with the Department of Financial Institutions. The filing fee is $130 for online filing or $170 when filing by mail.
- Self-employed individuals at their own incorporated businesses have a median income of $51,000. That's $26,000 more than those without incorporated businesses.
- The corporate franchise tax in Wisconsin is imposed at a rate of 7.9%. Returns and payments are due by the 15th day of the 4th month following the close of a corporation's fiscal year.
- Wisconsin has what is known as the “economic surplus charge,” which is a type of tax that applies to C corporations and most S corporations with at least $4 million or more in gross receipts. The surcharge is the greater of 3% of net business income attributable to Wisconsin or 25%.
- There are 26,623 self-employed minorities in Wisconsin. They represent 5.8% of all small business owners in the state.
- In 2018, banks in Wisconsin gave out 78,300 loans under $100,000 to small businesses while reporting under the Community Reinvestment Act. The total value of the loans was $1.1 billion.
- Private-sector employment in Wisconsin decreased 15.6% during the 12-month period ending in April 2020.
- Five industries comprise the largest share of small businesses:
- Other services (except public administration) — 62,723
- Professional, scientific, and technical services — 55,100
- Construction — 51,952
- Retail trade — 51,042
- Real estate, rental, and leasing — 45,473