Hicks on State Economy: 'We Look Good'

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From Left to Right: Richard Gill, Joe Donnelly, Mike Hicks From Left to Right: Richard Gill, Joe Donnelly, Mike Hicks
MUNCIE -

Ball State economist Mike Hicks says Indiana is in good shape in "most factors" regarding its economic future. During the 21st Economic Outlook event Monday morning from the Ball State Business Roundtable, Hicks said Indiana continues to outperform the rest of the nation in employment and wage growth.

The outlook also included presentations from Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Muncie-based Gill Brothers Furniture owner Richard Gill, who serves as chair of the Roundtable.

Hicks, director of the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research, tells Inside INdiana Business some challenges remain throughout the state. He says Indiana is currently at what is regarded as full-employment, but "there are some regional differences." He says three of the larger metropolitan areas in Indiana - Indianapolis, Greater Louisville and Fort Wayne - are all doing well, while the economy in northwest Indiana and many rural parts of the state are "not as robust." Hicks says "if you add it all up, it's a good year - almost 50,000 jobs - but if you look at different pockets of the state, not so much."

At Monday morning's event at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, Hicks provided a summary of his analysis, which includes:

  • Labor and capital markets have recovered well
  • Business and consumer confidence is strengthening
  • Manufacturing production is at or near record levels
  • GDP growth remains sluggish (the reverse of a jobless recovery?)
  • Federal Reserve will surely raise policy rates steadily through forecast horizon
  • Indiana continues to outperform in employment and wage growth
  • East central Indiana continues to see very slow growth linked to population losses
  • Future policy direction is certain, speed and effect is not

The 2017 Economic Forecast for United States & Indiana report projects 46,000 jobs will be created throughout the U.S. next year and 37,500 jobs in 2018:

You can connect to the full report by clicking here.

Hicks, director of the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research, tells Inside INdiana Business some challenges remain throughout the state.
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