updated: 12/3/2013 7:59:03 AM

'State of The Region' Highlights Progress

Dan McGowan, InsideINdianaBusiness.com

 Vice President of Regional Initiatives Katy Silliman also tells Inside INdiana Business the report highlights some areas for improvement.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership says its first "State of the Region" report shows the 10-county area is outpacing other regions of the country in several key areas. The research compares northeast Indiana to more than a dozen U.S. regions and examines benchmarks such as competitive business climate, entrepreneurship and the manufacturing sector. Findings suggest northeast Indiana has outperformed the country in personal income growth and comparable regions in job growth.

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December 3, 2013

News Release


FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Northeast Indiana has made significant progress over the last decade in creating a strong economic climate for growth. That's according to the State of the Region given today by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Approximately 120 people attended the event at the Summit this morning to learn the results of the 2013 Regional Dashboard Update and Northeast Indiana Manufacturing Study.

The Partnership, through its Vision 2020 initiative, developed the Regional Dashboard in 2012 to create a baseline of economic data against which to track regional progress. The 2013 Dashboard Update presented today is a follow up to last year's inaugural report. It compares Northeast Indiana with 14 star and peer regions from across the United States using an objective and comparable set of benchmarks. Results from the Dashboard are used by the Partnership's Vision 2020 initiative to help Northeast Indiana become a top global competitor.

Vision 2020 focuses on five key economic growth areas: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life.

Key findings from the 2013 Dashboard Update include:

-Northeast Indiana is outpacing the nation in the growth of per capita personal income. The region saw a 5 percent growth rate in 2012 while the national rate was 3.4 percent.*
-Employment in Northeast Indiana was hit harder by the recession than comparable regions, but Northeast Indiana outperformed both groups for three-year and one-year job growth.
-Northeast Indiana's gross metro product (gross domestic product at the regional level) has grown at a rate double that of our peer regions over the past 10 years.
-The region has made incremental progress in the 21st century talent index and is closing the gap on our peer communities, but Northeast Indiana has a long road ahead to catch up to the star regions.
-In the business climate index, several regions that outperformed Northeast Indiana in the 2012 report scored lower, while the region's scores improved this year.

"The results of the 2013 Dashboard provide us with a baseline for continuous assessment," said Ellen Cutter, director of the Community Research Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, which prepared the 2013 Dashboard Update and Manufacturing Study and presented the findings today. "Through the various economic indicators that it measures, we can see where we need to focus our resources to stay competitive."

The second report presented today, the Northeast Indiana Manufacturing Study, examined the region's largest employment sector. The results show that while the region has suffered a loss of manufacturing jobs over the last decade, Northeast Indiana saw a period of strong recovery from 2009 to 2012, gaining an average of 2,850 manufacturing jobs each year.

The study identified nine clusters in advanced manufacturing present in Northeast Indiana: Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Fertilizer; Engines; Computers, Electronics and Precision Instruments; Industrial Machinery; Medical Instruments; Motor Vehicles; Cable and Wiring; Steel, Metalworking and Machine Tools; and Technical Engineering. This information can be used to focus on areas where Northeast Indiana may be able to strengthen connections between businesses and suppliers and attract companies to the region that would complement businesses already present here.

"The information presented at today's State of the Region shows that Northeast Indiana is on the right track as we continue to recover from the last recession," said Katy Silliman, vice president of regional initiatives at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "We will use the results from the two reports presented today to help focus Vision 2020's efforts as we move forward in our mission to create a strong economic climate focused on developing, attracting and retaining talent."

The 2013 Regional Dashboard Update and Northeast Indiana Manufacturing Study can be found on the Vision 2020 website.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership creating business investment by generating business leads, developing product and fostering regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. The 10 counties of Northeast Indiana include Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.

*These percentages reflect 2012 per capita income figures, which were released after the 2013 Dashboard was completed. Since per capita income is a founding tenet of Vision 2020, the most recent data (2012) was also included in the State of the Region presentation today.

Source: Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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