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Indiana Again Scores High in Business Friendliness Survey

by rgifford Mon, May 20 2013 17:14

The Kaufmann Foundation and Thumbtack.com recently released their annual ranking of states for their friendliness to small businesses.  Indiana placed 15th among all states in this most recent survey.  This survey of eight thousand small businesses ranked states in 11 categories.  Indiana was awarded the following grades:

Overall Friendliness: B+

Ease of Starting a Business:B+

Ease of Hiring: F

Regulations: C

Health and Safety: D

Employment, Labor, and Hiring: C-

Tax Code: D

Licensing: A-

Environmental: D

Zoning: B-

Training and Networking Programs: C-

Neighboring Midwestern states were ranked lower than Indiana, with Kentucky at 22nd, Ohio at 24th, Michigan at 36th, and Illinois at 37th

Starke County and Indiana See Drop in Unemployment Rate for April

by rgifford Fri, May 17 2013 19:39

All 92 Indiana counties as well as the State of Indiana experienced decreases in unemployment rates for the month of April, according to figures released this morning by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  Indiana saw a decrease of .2%, while the Starke County rate decreased 1.3% down to 10.3%.

Private sector employment in the Hoosier state also increased by 6,800 jobs over the past month and exceeded the national rate of growth. Indiana has now experienced private sector employment growth in 37 of the past 40 months. 

April also recorded the biggest drop in the total number of unemployed in over a year. Seven thousand, eight hundred fewer Hoosiers were reported unemployed in April than reported in March. Weekly claims for unemployment insurance also decreased by more than 14 percent over the past month and initial claims continue to remain below 2005 levels. 

Chief Executive Magazine Names Indiana as Best Place to Do Business in the Midwest

by rgifford Tue, May 07 2013 17:18

Chief Executive Magazine, a bi-monthly publication for top management executives, has just issued its ninth annual "Best and Worst States" survey.  More than 500 chief executives are surveyed on topics such as business tax policies, regulation, workforce quality, and livibility factors.  This year's survey found Indiana rated as the top state in the Midwest and 5th nationwide.  Indiana's ranking has moved up eleven places since 2010.

Neighboring states rankings included Kentucky (29th), Ohio (22nd), Michigan (44th), and Illinois (48th).

National Unemployment Rate Drops on Better Than Expected April Job Gains

by rgifford Fri, May 03 2013 17:05

The Department of Labor reported this morning that 165,000 jobs were added in April, beating forecasted expectations of 140,000 jobs for the month.  Private employers created the most jobs, with sequestration still hurting the government sector.  On the strength of this jobs report, the national unemployment rate for the month dropped from 7.6% to 7.5%.

SCILL Step-Up Welding Program Achieves Approved Provider Status with Indiana Department of Workforce Development

by rgifford Tue, April 30 2013 20:11

The Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) has received notification from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) that its Step-Up Welding Program has achieved Approved Provider Status with DWD.  DWD had previously granted the same status to the SCILL Beginning Welding Program which is just finishing its second 12-week class.  While the Beginning Welding Program is for those with no welding experience, the Step-Up Program is designed for those who have basic welding skills but are looking for American Welding Society (AWS) certification, or for those who wish to gain additional welding skills and/or become certified in one or more AWS classifications.

A program that has achieved this status makes students in that program eligible for WorkOne training dollars, if they meet the qualifications of WorkOne. For additional information on either program, contact SCILL at 574-772-8001.  SCILL was created by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) in 1996 to assure that a qualified workforce was available to Starke County employers.

Northwest Indiana Economists Discuss Regional Economic Trends and Opportunities

by rgifford Tue, April 30 2013 18:56

A team of five economists discussed their findings about the Northwest Indiana economy and how that economy is recovering from the recent recession at an event held on the Valparaiso University campus on April 29, 2013.  The Northwest Indiana Forum coordinated this initiative which was first held about a year and a half ago.

Two key findings this year included the fact that the sum total of the region's output had increased 13.3% to $33.2 billion, but that employment in the region continues at recession levels and there are actually 6,700 less people working in the region than during the recession.  Other findings included that there has been an 11% increase in productive capacity, a 4.9% increase in private sector sales, and a 19% increase in the average value per employee added to products and services produced in the region since the recession.  The average compensation per job is about $48,200, which includes the value of employer-provided benefits.

Indiana Ranks High on "Best States to Make a Living" for 2013

by rgifford Tue, April 30 2013 16:48

MoneyRates.com recently issued its listing of the best and worst states to make a living for 2013.  This list combines average wage and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost of living data from C2ER, state tax rate information from Tax-rates.com, and workplace environment rankings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index poll to arrive at their rankings.

Indiana was ranked 15th on the best places listing, bettering neighboring states Michigan (#16), Ohio (#21), Illinois (#22), and Kentucky (#30).

National Unemployment Rate Drops Despite Weak Jobs Report for March

by rgifford Fri, April 05 2013 17:48

The Labor Department reported this morning that there was an increase of only 88,000 jobs in March, which compared unfavorably with the 268,000 jobs created in February.  Despite this news, the national unemployment rate actually decreased, from 7.7% in February to 7.6% in March.  That rate is obtained from a different survey than the jobs report, and most analysts say that the rate only went down because the number of people active in the labor force, either working or looking for work went down, and not because more unemployed people obtained jobs.  On the good news front, this did mark the 30th consecutive month that the United States economy added jobs.

Starke County Unemployment Rate Shows Modest Improvement in Febuary

by rgifford Fri, March 29 2013 19:29

The unemployment rate for Starke County is reported to be 12.3% for the month of February, according to figures released this morning by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  This is a decrease from the 12.4% revised rate for the month of January, but still leaves the County at its highest rate of unemployment since the same month last year.

The State of Indiana saw an increase in its rate from 8.6% up to 8.7%, due to an increase in the labor force of 7500 individuals, of which 3800 were unemployed persons who have returned to looking for a job.  Indiana did record an increase of 5800 new jobs for the month.  Ohio at 8.0% and Kentucky at 7.9% have lower rates than Indiana, while Michigan at 8.8% and Illinois at 9.5% have higher rates.

The United States as a whole has an unemployment rate of 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January.

State and County Unemployment Rates Rise in January

by rgifford Mon, March 18 2013 22:43

The first monthly report on unemployment for 2013 was released this morning by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).  That report showed that the State of Indiana experienced an increase of .3% from the December report, as only 8,200 private jobs were added state-wide in January.  Although this marked the 19th consecutive month of job growth, the rate increased on the strength of 14,000 individuals being added to the labor force, of which more than 10,000 were returning unemployed persons now once again looking for work.  All 92 Indiana counties experienced a negative change in their own unemployment rate, which topped the previous month when 91 counties saw their rate increase from the previous month.

Starke County remained for the third consecutive month as the 6th highest Indiana county with regards to unemployment rate with a 1.7% increase, going from 10.8% in December to 12.5% in January.  For the County, the labor force increased by 162 persons, which just about matched the increase in the number of unemployed persons, which was 185.  The amount of employed persons in the County decreased by only 22 persons.

As far as neighboring states are concerned, Michigan at 8.9% and Illinois at 9.0% remained higher than Indiana, while Kentucky at 7.9% and Ohio at 7.0% are still lower than Indiana.

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Creating Opportunities ... Delivering On Promises

"The first thing we have to do is prove we’re credible and then deliver results. We have done that. Give us a task and we’ll get the job done." Charles Weaver, Executive Director

Starke County location and logistics create opportunities:

  • A 90-minute drive to downtown Chicago
  • In the heart of Indiana, the "Crossroads of America"
  • Midway between the east coast and the Rocky Mountains
  • In the NAFTA Super Highway corridor
  • One day’s drive within one-third of the population of the United States
  • Excellent service from class-one and short line railroads

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation delivers on our promises to make your move here easier than you ever thought possible. We have:

  • Built and leased back spec buildings
  • Constructed lead track and rail spurs
  • Installed water tower, water mains, and sewer infrastructure
  • Upgraded highway interchanges
  • Continue to assemble land for development

The Foundation has built a reputation as the LEDO that partners with you to get the job done.

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