A new biennial report from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce says the state lags behind its key economic competitors. Indiana Vision 2025: 2020 Snapshot suggests Indiana is dealing with deficits in education preparation and attainment, which could result in “wide-ranging ramifications.”
The report card compares Indiana with its Midwest counterparts and five key competitor states – Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah – based on 32 metrics related to the Indiana Vision 2025 plan, such as public high school graduation rates, per capita income, and state and local spending.
Kevin Brinegar, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Chamber, says the state’s recent emphasis on workforce training is encouraging, but not enough to boost its profile.
“Talent shortfalls are not a new challenge,” Brinegar said in a news release. “But they are more important than ever when coupled with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And that lack of education/workforce preparation affects so many areas of this analysis – from lagging personal income and poor health choices to a shortage of new entrepreneurs and business formations.”
The report says Indiana also has room for improvement in key areas, including Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, and Dynamic and Creative Culture.
The chamber has six top 10 and four bottom 10 rankings in the 32 categories included in the 2020 Snapshot.
“A successful post-pandemic economy will require more than Indiana’s traditional business strengths,” Brinegar adds. “Indiana has made strong progress in various metrics and analyses from the time the Chamber began these economic evaluations in 2000. It shows what can be accomplished with bold, focused and consistent efforts.”
One category holding back Indiana is health. High smoking rates and obesity continue to hurt the rankings as businesses considering Indiana see higher health insurance costs.
“It’s such a burden, such a weight on employers and health insurance premiums. It has so many additional effects, such as lost productivity,” said Adam Berry, Indiana Chamber’s vice president of economic development and technology. “It’s an important issue that goes beyond just an individual’s health.”
Berry said if you remove the health metrics, Indiana’s ranking climbs to second place in the group of competitor states.
Brinegar will appear this weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk more about the report.
You can view an overview of the report below and connect to the full report by clicking here.
Vice President of Economic Development Adam Berry says a pandemic-impacted state budget means the chamber must focus on key issues.