IUN economist finds booming business climate in NWI • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
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IUN economist finds booming business climate in NWI

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Micah Pollak
Micah Pollak is director of the Center for Economic Education and Research at Indiana University Northwest

Indiana University Northwest Professor Micah Pollak says business growth in the Region is outpacing Cook County.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the number of business establishments from 2001 to 2022, the Northwest Indiana area has been outpacing business growth in Cook County, Illinois, since 2016.

Pollak, who is an associate professor of economics in the School of Business & Economics, and the director of the Center for Economic Education & Research at IUN, cites numbers from 2022 when NWI added 805 new businesses compared to Cook County's loss of 89 establishments.

“That was a bit of an outlier year, but if you look back over the last decade (2012 to 2022), Northwest Indiana is up 11% in business establishments while Cook County is down 6%,” Pollak said.

Cook County still has more businesses, but as a percentage, the Gary metro area, which includes Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties, is seeing a greater percentage of new businesses. In 2022, the Gary metro area had 16,524 businesses, while Cook County had 138,560 businesses.

“I find these statistics striking, especially considering that Cook County has an economy more than seven times larger than Northwest Indiana,” Pollak said.

Pollak also writes a blog called “The Region Economist,” where he reported his confidence in the Region's economy.

He said that one indicator of strong growth is the more recent trend of population growth here. Between 2010 and 2017, population fell in NWI by 1%, but between 2017 and 2022, population grew by 2.9%.

He said in his blog that this trend is a “direct result of the culmination of years of economic development efforts focused of the area of quality of place improvements.”

Caption: Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided by Micah Pollak


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