Analyzing total income per square mile adjusts for the variation in land sizes between municipalities. When comparing gross income per square mile, the City of Milwaukee exceeds suburbs such as Brookfield and Mequon by more than $40 million per square mile.
Milwaukee has long been a center of commerce and industry in the Great Lakes region. In recent years, job creation has pushed local employment levels to historic highs. Between 1983 and 2000, Milwaukee employers added more than 240,000 jobs, making its economy one of the strongest in the country. As a result of the continued job growth, unemployment levels have remained near or below 5% since 1992. The unemployment rate for 2001 was 5.4%. The three sectors that comprise most of Milwaukee’s economy and workforce are service sector industries, manufacturing, and retail trade. Service sector industries employ 32.5% of Milwaukee’s workforce. Manufacturing employs 20.2% of the workforce, and produces $31 billion in product annually. Thirdly, the retail sales sector employs 15.7% of the workforce, and earned $19.4 billion in retail sales.
In addition to industrious workers and conservative business practices, Milwaukee receives the added economic stimulus of tourism. More than 5 million tourists generated $2.2 billion at area attractions such as festivals, parades, and the nationally recognized zoo and museum. This is up 17.5% from 1999 due in part to the newly constructed Miller Park baseball stadium, the Midwest Express Center, a $120 million addition to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino complex, and a $100 million addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum.