Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 8, 2013

Ball State offering economic outlook

Kokomo areato see strong growth next year.

From staff reports
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said the U.S. economy narrowly dodged a recession in 2013, as the European Union showed signs of growth.

“This will be the first postwar European recession that did not engulf the U.S.,” he said. “Still, the United States economy will continue to perform poorly through 2014, in virtually all areas. We estimate the inflation-adjusted gross domestic product to grow at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent to 2.1 percent in each of the four quarters of 2014.”

Hicks will be in Kokomo Dec. 12 to deliver specific predictions for the local economy. The Ball State Center for Economic and Business Research, which Hicks heads, offered statewide predictions this past week.

Hicks’ analysis calls for Indiana’s economy to slightly outperform the nation as a whole, growing at almost 2.2 percent when adjusted for inflation.

“Growth will be led by continued strong performance of the durable goods manufacturing sector, while non-durable goods production will remain flat,” Hicks said. “The strength of the durable manufacturing recovery in Indiana is the major contributor to growth in the state.”

Also for the first time, the Indiana Economic Outlook breaks down the state into regions. This should allow for a better understanding of the state’s economy, Hicks said.

“While Indiana is a manufacturing-based state, what is created in Elkhart County is far different from Marion and Vanderburgh counties,” he said. “At the same time, our research has found the economies of the regions vary when it comes to property taxes, tax abatements and income.”

• North central Indiana (including the Elkhart-Goshen area) will see strong growth again in 2014, with GDP rising by 4.6 percent, or more than twice the state average.

• The Fort Wayne region will see its economy grow by 2 percent, adding 3,800 workers.

• Central Indiana will continue to see growth faster than the state and nation, with GDP in the greater Indianapolis region expanding at a 2.4 percent rate, adding more than 13,250 jobs in 2014.

• West central Indiana (Kokomo, Lafayette and nearby counties) will see strong growth in 2014, with GDP expanding by 3.9 percent and job growth of 825 positions.

• East central Indiana will continue to be plagued by slow economic growth in 2014. While the economy will expand at roughly 1.9 percent, growth will be uneven and employment in the region will shrink by almost 500 workers.

• Southeast Indiana will see modest growth in 2014, barely outpacing the nation as a whole, with GDP expanding at 2.1 percent and more than 120 new jobs added in the region.

• The six counties in northwest Indiana will grow relatively rapidly, with GDP expanding at 3.1 percent in 2014, and an additional 3,900 workers finding jobs in the region.

• Southwest Indiana will grow at a brisk pace of 3.6 percent, adding more than 650 jobs in 2014.