The biggest problem facing businesses in Wisconsin is a worsening labor shortage, according to the latest economic survey from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC).

WMC, the state’s largest business trade organization and a Republican-leaning lobbying group, surveyed 232 C-suite executives about the Wisconsin economy. The biggest problem they face is a labor shortage, and more leaders are seeing immigration reform as a potential solution.

An overwhelming 77 percent of employers said they are having trouble finding employees, up from 70 percent one year ago and 53 percent in the summer of 2014.

In addition, 77 percent of business leaders support federal immigration reform, up nearly 20 percent from 2016 (59%).

Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of WMC, said the issue is holding Wisconsin’s economy back, and demands more attention from political leadership.

“The economy can’t stay strong if labor availability is weak,” said Bauer. “Wisconsin needs to attract labor from other states and abroad in order to grow our economy.”

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