The chief executive officer of Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp expects to see "slow and steady growth" in Indiana’s economy over the next year. During the bank’s economic forecast event Tuesday in Indianapolis, Claude Davis said central Indiana in particular has been boosted by strong technology, agbioscience and life science sectors. Davis says, barring any major national policy swings, "it’s looking solid" for Indiana’s economy in 2017.
Davis says First Financial does business in 20 Indiana counties, and all but two have unemployment rates lower than the national number. He says economic strength touches most regions of Indiana, citing the example of Columbus, which he says continues to be strong in manufacturing. He predicts two percent economic growth over the next year.
The forecast matches closely with projections from a panel from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, which earlier this week predicted output growth to only average slightly above two percent. That panel reported "little reason for any real optimism" for significant economic growth nationally in 2017.