Report Card Shows Challenges For Indiana

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Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber. Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says the state must continue to address talent challenges in an effort to boost economic momentum. The chamber's Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card and annual work force survey cite a lack of skilled workers and high smoking and obesity rates among those challenges.

Rising electricity prices, along with a lack of statewide entrepreneurial activity and venture capital to support such activity were also named as factors holding Indiana back. However, the state showed strong performances in business regulatory environment, early education and exports.

The report card compares all 50 states on 62 metrics that are split into four groups: Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture. The chamber says, overall, Indiana fared better in the 2017 report card than in 2015, with improvement in 36 metrics.

"There are a number of positive developments – both taking place every day and in our latest research – that are cause to celebrate," said Kevin Brinegar, chief executive officer of the Indiana Chamber. "But it is also evident that a lack of workers, unhealthy lifestyle choices and limited Indiana-based funding to grow promising companies is keeping the state from realizing its full potential."

The chamber said 47 percent of the respondents to the annual employer workforce survey said they had jobs left unfilled due a lack of qualified applicants. That's an 8 percent increase over the previous year. Additionally, 29 percent said filling their workforce was their biggest challenge, an increase of 9 percent over 2016.

"Employers tell us, both through the survey and in their daily work experiences, that they simply can’t fulfill growth possibilities due to the lack of skilled workers," said Brinegar. "While many efforts are underway to prepare future employees and upgrade the abilities of those in the workforce today, those programs must be operated at the highest level of effectiveness and accelerated."

Indiana ranks 39th for its adult smoking rate of 20.6 percent, which the chamber says is an improvement over previous years. Indiana also ranks 36th in adult obesity, an improvement of six spots. The chamber also noted Indiana ranks 29th in electricity rates for industrial customers and 26th for commercial customers. 

You can view a summary of Indiana's ranking in each metric below. You can also view the full Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card by clicking here.

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