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Marquette Professor Talks IKEA Impact

IKEA is finalizing a plan to open a store in Oak Creek, WI in the summer of 2018. Furniture shoppers and meatball lovers are thrilled, but how do economists feel?  

Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, Professor of Economics at Marquette University, joined us live on the CBS 58 News at 4 to talk about the economic impact of a new IKEA. In short, he says it's good economic news, but the benefits are limited.

The good news is that the new store will bring shoppers from far away to the area. "It has regional appeal," Chowdhury said. "If you look at IKEA stores, they will attract customers from a 100-mile radius, so you will see people from Madison or Green Bay coming to Oak Creek." 

But Chowdhury says, the amount of money they spend in Oak Creek will be focused at the store. "Think of a family that comes here from Green Bay. They will spend a couple of hours here in Oak Creek so obviously are not thinking of going to a fancy restaurant, they will go to a small fast food joint," Chowdhury said. 

And while new jobs coming to the area is a positive sign, the quality of these jobs leaves a little to be desired. "You're not talking about high skill, high paying jobs... most of the jobs that will be created are minimum wage or close to minimum wage jobs," Chowdhury said. 

So while Chowdhury says the arrival of the Swedish furniture giant is good news, "hopefully we can attract other manufacturing businesses, that will be better news," he said.

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