ABC of Indiana Annual Economic Summit Recap
[Fort Wayne, Indiana] Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana (ABC) hosted their annual Economic Summit on Wednesday, February 6 at Ceruti’s in Fort Wayne.
“The purpose of the Economic Summit is to provide ABC members and guests insight into the local economy as it relates to the construction industry” notes ABC State Board member, Ryan Neumeister, Liberty Developing. “The economic outlook for 2013 appears a little brighter than it has the last four years which is great news. We want to thank our panelists this year for taking the time to share their economic insights with us.”
This year’s panelists included Keith Busse, Chairman of the Board of Steel Dynamics Inc.; John Stafford, Director of Community Research at IPFW; and Mick McCollum, Interim President of Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.
Keith Busse kicked off the panel discussion and relayed “..the construction market was hit the hardest but is recovering,” and in regard to backlogs, it is a “dog-eat-dog world”. Busse indicated that though the economy is fragile, this region is doing pretty well compared to others.
Mick McCollum added to this by saying “There is a lot of activity, but in regard to capital investments, companies are standing on the sidelines to see what the economy is doing.” There is a lot of good activity locally with the downtown area growing, but there is a need for a better inventory of buildings. “We are missing a lot of opportunities due to no inventory” states McCollum.
John Stafford remarked that from a jobs perspective, “2012 was a good year in raw numbers.” Unemployment stands at 8.2% which is slightly above the nation. Stafford shed light on the greater need for educated workers. For those individuals with less than a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is at 18.6%; 10.3% for a high school graduate; 9.3% for those with an associates degree; and 2.5% with a masters degree.
The panel concluded the event with a discussion on Right To Work which all three panelists agree makes it a game changer for Indiana. “The more people you have to speak to, the more opportunities you have.”
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