Report: Indiana economy isn’t keeping pace with neighbors


MARY SCHUERMANN KUHLMAN
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new report offers a look at how Indiana’s economy can keep better pace with its neighbors.

The “Indiana Vision 2025: 2020 Snapshot” compares the Hoosier State to its four bordering states and five competitor states, and shows the state lags in terms of economic competitiveness.

The research is from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Its president and chief executive, Kevin Brinegar, noted that Indiana has one of the best business climates in the country because of concerted policy and program efforts over the past 20 years.

“When you look at particularly some of the workforce metrics — our health metric, our per-capita personal income and some of the things in the entrepreneur area — despite all the progress, we are still behind,” he said.

Brinegar said the state’s business climate is hampered by health concerns, such as smoking and obesity, and its infrastructure ranking is threatened by rising utility costs that impact manufacturing.

Brinegar contended that the world of work in the 21st century is, in many cases, going to require education and training beyond a high school diploma.

“The biggest growth area is in what we call middle-skills jobs, which is those beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year bachelor’s degree,” he said. “And parents need to be preparing their children, in terms of their high school curriculum and high school level of achievement, to be prepared to go on further.”

The snapshot ranks Indiana fourth among its neighbors for the percentage of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, and last for the population with an associate degree or high-quality credential.

The report is online at indianachamber.com.