Good News for Indiana's Growing Economy

In a timely bit of good news a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, we came across an article in the Indy Star about the direction of Indiana's economy. They referred to a recent study released by one of Indiana's own large universities, Indiana University, and our state economic growth is set to outpace the nation's economic growth in 2018!

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Economists who participated in the study reported that they predict Indiana's economy will grow faster than the U.S. economy next year: with our GDP (gross domestic product) expected to hit 2.8% and the county's GDP hitting only 2.6%. Our economy has grown steadily following the Great Recession of 2008 and seems on pace to continue that growth in 2018.

The article does note that while the GDP will grow, other favorable economic numbers may not change – or even have room to change. For instance, Indiana's unemployment has been at a very solidly low 3.8% and the country's overall unemployment rate hovers at a higher 4.3%. Indiana University economists reported that both our state economy and national economies are essentially at what they called “full employment.” U.S. job growth topped many professional expectations and may well continue into the coming year.

Author of the forecast was Ryan Brewer, an associate professor at  IUPUI Columbus. The Star quoted Brewer as saying that although Indiana's job growth had outpaced the nation's in the past five out of seven or so years, that with a tightening market it gets more difficult to attract new opportunities for additional job growth. Brewer also pointed to an unexpected possible threat to job growth, that being our state's unfortunately also-growing opioid epidemic. Brewer cited opioids as being one reason employers struggle to find workers quickly enough to support continued economic growth. Another reason the epidemic could hurt the Hoosier economy? Brewer said it could cost the state as much as $1.25-$1.8 billion in lost gross state product by those addicted to opioids.

Overall the study shows that the Hoosier state will continue to enjoy low unemployment and a growing GDP, with a faster growing economy than the nation's economy in 2018. While there are some possible challenges to an economy that's been on the upswing since '08, Indiana is on pace to show some solid economic numbers for the coming year.

 

Elizabeth Wheeler