Futurecast panelists optimistic about Region's economic outlook • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Futurcast 2024

Futurecast panelists optimistic about Region’s economic outlook

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Panelists at Futurecast 2024 painted a rosy picture of Northwest Indiana's economic future.

From more residents to more businesses, the Region is poised for unprecedented growth, said Micah Pollak, associate professor of economics and Indiana University.

“One reason for this is that the economic environment for workers in Northwest Indiana has improved dramatically with growth in wages far outpacing inflation in the last few years for the majority of workers,” Pollack said in his presentation. “Adjusting for inflation, wages for all workers in Northwest Indiana have grown 5.8% since 2019, and many key industries have seen even more significant wage growth.”

He gave the example of wages in the accommodation and food services industry, which have grown 20.6% since 2019 after adjusting for inflation.

Futurecast was presented through a partnership of the Lake County Advancement Committee and Indiana University. During the Nov. 17 event, founding committee member Calvin Bellamy passed the leadership torch to Legacy Foundation President and CEO Kelly Anoe at Avalon Manor in Merrillville.

“After a brief retirement, we are back with LCAC 2.0,” Bellamy announced at the event, which attracted more than 150 community leaders.

Pollak and other economists from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business shared their outlook on the economy in the Region and beyond.

Other panelists included:

  • Kristoph Kleiner, associate professor of finance, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
  • Phil Powell, executive director of the Indiana Business Research Center and the associate clinical professor of business economics and public policy, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
  • Cynthia Roberts, dean, School of Business and Economics, Indiana University Northwest
  • Carol Rogers, director, Indiana business Research Center Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

The panelists also cited population growth as a motivating factor in their positive economic outlook for the Region, which includes Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties.

“Another factor for this population growth is increasing quality of place,” Pollack said. “From improved mass transit with the South Shore Line to expanded green spaces, parks and trails and much more, Northwest Indiana is becoming a more attractive and convenient place for workers to raise a family.”

That growth stems from the 805 new businesses in Northwest Indiana in 2022. In comparison, Cook County lost 89 businesses during that same time frame, Pollack said.

“Taken together, these trends suggest not only a strong economy for Northwest Indiana in 2024, but accelerating economic growth in the years to come,” Pollack said.

The Lake County Advancement Committee's next event is a Jan. 11 luncheon at Avalon Manor Banquet Center in Merrillville. Tom Dakich, founder and CEO of Quantum Corridor Inc., will be the guest speaker. Tickets are $25 until Dec. 1 and can be reserved here.

Caption: More than 150 people attended the 2024 Futurecast where panelists discussed the Region's economic outlook. (Provided by the Legacy Foundation)


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