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AU Professor: Madison County’s Economy Recovers During Pandemic | Companies

ANDERSON – Madison County is in the midst of an economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a member of Anderson University’s finance department.

The Anderson Rotary Club hosted the Annual Business Outlook Tuesday at the Anderson Country Club, presented by the Universities of Indiana and Anderson.

AU’s Lonnie Leeper said Madison County is taking the right steps to recover from the pandemic.

He said unemployment in the county fell from 7.9% in 2020 to 4.2% this year.

“The improvement is not as r -id as at the state level,” Leeper said of the local economy.

He said the number of jobs has decreased but there is growth in agriculture, retail, transportation and on-site storage.

Leeper said the average sales price of a home rose to $ 155,000, up 14.8% since 2020, and the number of homes for sale rose 26.9% over the same period.

“We will continue the recovery, but at a slower pace.

“As in the past, unemployment will drop to around 3.7% and there will be a cooling off in the housing market,” said Leeper.

He said inflation and supply chain problems will continue to affect the local economy.

“The high food and energy costs will have an impact on the higher local wages,” warned Leeper.

As positive aspects in Madison County, he cited the continued diversification of the local economy, the two planned new hotels in Anderson, the announced expansion of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the relocation of companies to the county.

“Improvements to the parks and infrastructure will increase the quality of life on site and help to attract new industries.”

Mark Fröhlich, a member of the Faculty of Operations Management at IU, said he was pessimistic about Indiana’s economic growth in 2022, estimating it to be 3.1% for the first quarter of the year and declining for the second half of the year.

He said Indiana’s service sector is expected to grow 2.6%, but only 0.5% in manufacturing.

“We see the conventions return to Central Indiana,” said Fröhlich. “But the interruptions in the supply chain have an impact on manufacturing.”

He said it currently takes 16.9 days to unload cargo ships in ports on the country’s west coast.

Cheerful said Indiana was facing a labor shortage and 60,000 Hoosiers had left the workforce.

“We don’t know exactly how many people have left the workforce or whether they will return.”

Fröhlich said that due to the labor shortage, companies are moving to automation and the state is funding small businesses for automation.

“I do not predict darkness and doom,” he said. “2022 is a year that we have to get through.”

Kyle Anderson, a member of the business administration faculty at IU, said the economy was growing slowly before 2020.

“Overall, the country is in good sh -e,” he said. “I’m optimistic. We are in recovery mode and the economy slowed in the third quarter due to supply chain issues.”

Anderson said people have money to spend and there is a backlog of consumer goods.

“People have 50% more money in their checking accounts than they did two years ago,” he said. “There was (less) spending, and government economic controls helped.

“Consumer spending is up 4% and is projected to be 3% in the first half of 2022,” said Anderson.

He said the national unemployment rate is 4.6% and will continue to fall if recruitment continues next year.

Anderson also noted the decline in the national workforce of an estimated 3 million people from accelerated retirement, but the biggest decline is in people of their prime working age.

“Will you return to work?” he asked. “One issue is childcare and one parent is now staying at home instead of working.”

Anderson said if the inflation rate stays above 6% it will cause interest rates to rise.

“There are bright spots,” he said of the economy.

Consequences Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide or call 765-640-4863.

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