The Impact of Sawyer County Tourism in 2022
One of the largest pushes by various DMOs (destination marketing organizations) state-wide in the state of Wisconsin has been to help rebound from Covid-19. The pre-2020 era when main streets were filled with avid travelers, visitors, and locals alike. Restaurants, taverns, bars and pubs were crawling with beer, wine and lovers of spirits. Retailers, boutiques, sweet shops and bakeries saw lovers of baked goods walk in to sample their favorite delectables.
Covid-19 hit our economies very hard with the closure of brick-and-mortar locations. Some businesses found they can operate with a skeleton crew, and still remain profitable. Others were so fortunate. Service based businesses were seeing a decline, as homeowners and property owners were able to stay home and do those weekly chores they couldn’t get to with their daily commute, long hours, early mornings, and late nights.
2022 was the year of, “Nobody wants to work.” We heard this echoed on Facebook in various discussions, in your local watering hole, and at local sporting events. Business owners, managers and employees mentioned how busy they were, and doing the work of two and three people because… You guessed it, “Nobody wants to work.”
Now, before we dive into telling the business owners to pay a living wage, or something comparable to the value of the employee to the business - let’s look at some of the metrics and data which contributed to this feeling of being overworked, overloaded, and finding a struggle with securing help.
Sawyer County Total Economic Impact
In 2021, Sawyer County produced a Total Economic Impact of $131 Million which was a 4.8% increase from the 2019 pre-Covid levels. However, in 2022, Sawyer County saw an additional increase, this time producing a Total Economic Impact of $141 Million which is an overall 12.8% increase from pre-Covid levels of 2019.
Another metric deemed value is direct visitor spending.
Sawyer County Direct Visitor Spending
In 2021, Sawyer County saw a direct visitor spending metric of $95.9 Million. In 2022, however, Sawyer County saw a direct visitor spending metric of $103.9 Million. This is responsible for an 8.4% increase from last year.
Let’s talk about employment for a moment. How do these metrics contribute to employment?
Sawyer County Employment
Sawyer County tends to see a seasonally-adjusted level of employment, and conversely unemployment metrics. In 2021 Sawyer County establishments and businesses were able to secure a total of 956 employees in full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, leased and at-will designations. However, in 2022, Sawyer County saw a decline in securing employees with a total of 940 employees in full-time part-time, temporary, seasonal, leased and at-will designations for a 1.6% decrease.
This is likely where we saw the conversations come from in regards to nobody wanting to work. While it was just 16 less total employees county wide, the businesses felt the increase in visitor spending, with the same or lower levels of employees on staff to service these wonderful visitors.
Currently, the Wisconsin unemployment rate is 2.6% meanwhile Sawyer County sits at 3.8% seasonally-adjusted as of August 31, 2023. The data is available at the Federal Reserve Economic Data website.
Total Labor Income
In 2021 Sawyer County saw $28.2 Million in total labor income. In 2022, they saw a 9.9% increase with $31 Million in total labor income.
State and Local Taxes
In 2021, Sawyer County saw $9.6 Million in taxes collected, and $9.8 Million in 2022, good for a 2.4% increase.
Statewide, Wisconsin saw a 2.9% increase in job creation with full-time and part-time jobs with 174,000+ jobs created.
Wisconsin also saw an 8.7% increase in visits to Wisconsin with 102.3M in 2021, and up to 111.1M in 2022. Wisconsin also generated $1.5 Billion in state and local taxes, up 9.2% from 2021 whereas Wisconsin saw $1.4 Billion in state and local taxes generated.
Data was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.