News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 21, 2013

Indiana economy’s improvement linked to national, says reporter

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The national economy will determine how quickly Indiana’s business will bounce back, Gerry Dick, president and managing editor of Inside Indiana Business, told the Terre Haute Rotary Club on Tuesday.

“I think a big piece of it is the national economy. [In] Indiana, and in many other states, officials will tell you the local or state economies can’t grow until the national economy really gets moving,” Dick said.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there, be with it tax policy or health care reform or health care law now,” he said.

Inside Indiana Business contracted for a survey of Indiana businesses on health care. “[In] the same survey a year ago, 34 percent of those responding said health care was a huge concern. This time around, it was 64 percent,” Dick said.

“As much as anything else, business, I think in Indiana, just wants there to be some certainty and recovery” in the national economy, Dick said.

“Generally speaking, Indiana is holding its own coming out of the recession. The big challenge [in the Wabash Valley] and around the state of Indiana is the economy is not recovering as quickly as many people would like it to. ... A part of that in Indiana is while we have some economic development wins, we’ve also had some job losses as well.”

“Until there is a little more clarity on the national level, it will be tough for Indiana to really snap out of the recession,” Dick said.

The manufacturing sector is one area that is helping Indiana’s economy.

“Advanced manufacturing, using technology to make things, is coming back in a big way. If you go to northern Indiana, the RV (Recreational Vehicle) industry which is very cyclical and [for] a few years was in the dumps, is coming back in a big way,” Dick said.

The automotive industry has made big investments in the state, such as Chrysler with more than a $1 billion investment in transmissions at Kokomo or Toyota’s continuing expansion in Princeton. “Plus Subaru of Indiana in Lafayette and Honda in Greensburg, they are all on an upswing. Interestingly enough, a number of those plants are beginning to export from those plants out of the country instead of the other way around,” Dick said.

“It is good for the workforce and has been something to help carry the economy for the time being,” he said.

Life sciences industries in certain areas, such as central Indiana, also have grown, Dick said.

In addition, several major road projects across the state can benefit the for potential future business growth, Dick said.

“The Ohio River bridges project in southeast Indiana, connecting Indiana and Louisville; the I-69 extension underway between Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and the city of Bloomington; or the Illiana Expressway in northwest Indiana. There are a lot of major road projects around the state.” Dick said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.