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TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: U.S. energy boom benefits spread far and wide

TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: U.S. energy boom benefits spread far and wide

The United States' energy boom is benefiting all sectors of the economy, helping fuel an economic recovery that is finally producing jobs at a healthy clip and bringing down unemployment.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

EDUCATION: Economic recovery leads to drop in higher ed enrollment

EDUCATION: Economic recovery leads to drop in higher ed enrollment

Signs of economic recovery could lead to a drop in higher education enrollment.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

MEDIA: Business investment driving sales forward

MEDIA: Business investment driving sales forward

Businesses are feeling confident again and looking to reach more customers through radio on both the airwaves and its digital platforms.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

ENERGY: Summer takes it easy on energy prices

ENERGY: Summer takes it easy on energy prices

The United State's energy mix continues to change in the face of environmental regulations, the shale gas boom and market requirements.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

TRANSPORTATION: Rail moving nation into recovery

The South Shore commuter railroad appears to be turning the corner on ridership declines, with peak weekday and weekend ridership both besting last year's for several months in a row.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: Higher meat prices not expected to drop anytime soon

TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: Higher meat prices not expected to drop anytime soon

Limited supply has driven up the cost of meat, with no expected drop in the near future.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

FUEL: Gas prices fell after Midwest boosted output

FUEL: Gas prices fell after Midwest boosted output

An overabundance of supply caused West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil and Gasoline prices to fall over the last three months.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

AUTOMOTIVE: Dealerships busy with recalls, looking to retain customers

AUTOMOTIVE: Dealerships busy with recalls, looking to retain customers

Auto sales have been pretty good as Chevrolet continues its run as the top-selling vehicle brand in Chicagoland, said Tim Roper, owner of Smith Motors Auto Group, which operates Chevrolet dealerships in Hammond and Lowell.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

BANKING: Mortgage lending, home prices rising

BANKING: Mortgage lending, home prices rising

The economy came out of its winter hibernation during the second quarter as consumer confidence reached the highest point since 2007, Horizon Bank Executive Vice President David Rose said.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

CONSUMERS: Local consumers spending with caution

CONSUMERS: Local consumers spending with caution

Local consumers are spending with caution, and for good reason, said Connie Kann, area director of the Better Business Bureau.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

INVESTMENTS: Stocks up, capital expenditures expected

INVESTMENTS: Stocks up, capital expenditures expected

Stock prices have been hitting all-time highs despite global uncertainties, said Mark Ennes, a wealth management adviser for the Merrill Lynch's Merrillville office.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

GROCERY: Sector grapples with high unemployment, food stamp cuts

GROCERY: Sector grapples with high unemployment, food stamp cuts

The grocery industry is doing well, but Strack and Van Til stores are faring better in South Lake County, where the unemployment is lower than it is in the northern cities or Illinois.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

MANUFACTURING: Industry's fortunes mirror GDP

MANUFACTURING: Industry's fortunes mirror GDP

Manufacturing continues the slow, steady improvement that has characterized the sector over the last few years, Berlin Metals President Boy Berlin said.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

STEEL: Growth on horizon for steelmakers

STEEL: Growth on horizon for steelmakers

Things are looking up for steelmakers after a rough patch during the economic downturn and a winter weather-chilled first quarter.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

CASINOS: Legislators must take hard look at mature industry

CASINOS: Legislators must take hard look at mature industry

The fast-changing U.S. gaming market is forcing everyone to take a hard look at an industry that has helped struggling communities and fattened state tax coffers for almost two decades in Indiana.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

AGRICULTURE: Crop prices down; weather a factor in local fields

AGRICULTURE: Crop prices down; weather a factor in local fields

Corn, soybeans and wheat have dropped in price nationally, while rainfall in the Region has led to inconsistency among local crops. 

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

CONSTRUCTION: Business strong, inflation weak

CONSTRUCTION: Business strong, inflation weak

Four years of steady improvement have kept construction workers on the job and low price inflation on materials is making life a little easier for for owners and customers.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

COMMERCE: NWI catching the eye of national retailers

COMMERCE: NWI catching the eye of national retailers

Business interest in Northwest Indiana is growing, a sign of good things to come, said Rex Richards, executive director of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

GOVERNMENT: Local governments still concerned about tax impact

GOVERNMENT: Local governments still concerned about tax impact

More capital expenditures and more hiring is anticipated in local government over the next six months, as municipal leaders face ongoing broader issues that have local impact.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

RESTAURANTS: Concerns mount for tight-margin industry

RESTAURANTS: Concerns mount for tight-margin industry

Obamacare mandates, minimum wage proposals, hikes in food prices and high gasoline prices are all challenging restauranteurs.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

REAL ESTATE: Home sales steady for second straight year

REAL ESTATE: Home sales steady for second straight year

An easing of tight credit, better appraisals and an improving economy have bolstered home sales in 2013, with July sales increasing 8.5 percent as compared to the year-ago month.

August 31, 2014 12:00 am

Geopolitical turmoil has not yet affected NWI economy

Geopolitical turmoil has not yet affected NWI economy

The refrain has been familiar almost every time The Times Board of Economists has met over the past few years: The economy is improving but slowly, more slowly than anyone would like.

August 30, 2014 6:00 pm Photos

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AGRICULTURE: Farmers optimistic for growing season

AGRICULTURE: Farmers optimistic for growing season

Local farmers are starting their planting operations with optimism for the growing season.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

CONSTRUCTION: Backlog develops as market's strength grows

CONSTRUCTION: Backlog develops as market's strength grows

Broad strength in the construction market is keeping local trades workers employed and leading to a backlog of work for contractors in some areas.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

EDUCATION: Falling funding hits higher ed, students

EDUCATION: Falling funding hits higher ed, students

The first quarter in local higher education took a hit from Mother Nature.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

REAL ESTATE: Market will heat up with the weather

REAL ESTATE: Market will heat up with the weather

The worst winter in memory held home sales back, but all signs are the warming weather will bring stronger home sales as the year goes on.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

THE TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: Health care law leaves unanswered questions

One of the main components of the Affordable Care Act took effect Jan. 1, requiring Americans to have some form of health coverage.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

THE TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: Business leaders give Congressman regulatory earful

THE TIMES BOARD OF ECONOMISTS: Business leaders give Congressman regulatory earful

With U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky in the room, members of the Times Board of Economists were not shy in talking about government regulations they have to deal with on a daily basis.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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AUTOMOTIVE: Auto sales up despite recalls

AUTOMOTIVE: Auto sales up despite recalls

Heavy snowfall and bone-chilling cold hampered auto sales in January and February, but sales are still strong, said Tim Roper, owner of Smith Motors Auto Group, which operates Chevrolet dealerships in Hammond and Lowell.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

BANKING: Interest rates remain low, but are bound to rise

BANKING: Interest rates remain low, but are bound to rise

Interest rates remain low, making it an ideal time for businesses to borrow money to expand or acquire other companies, said Horizon Bank executive vice president David Rose.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

CASINOS: Gaming facing up to competition

CASINOS: Gaming facing up to competition

With one of the harshest winters in recent memory behind them, Northwest Indiana casino operators are looking to up their game while keeping an eye on developments in Illinois.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

COMMERCE: Manufacturers, national retailers eye Porter County

COMMERCE: Manufacturers, national retailers eye Porter County

With renewed interest in national retailers and a recent groundbreaking for a manufacturing facility, commerce in Porter County is looking up, said Rex Richards, executive director of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. 

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

CONSUMERS: Healthy outlook for consumer spending

CONSUMERS: Healthy outlook for consumer spending

Consumer spending is healthy and should remain so for the rest of the year, said Connie Kann, area director of the Better Business Bureau.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

ENTERTAINMENT: Winter weather benefits entertainment

ENTERTAINMENT: Winter weather benefits entertainment

Winter weather did not stop people from seeking entertainment locally. If anything, it was an escape for those holed up in their home for days, said Charlie Blum, president and CEO of Star Plaza in Merrillville.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

GOVERNMENT: Property tax relief is here in Lake County

GOVERNMENT: Property tax relief is here in Lake County

Lake County taxpayers are now experiencing the gain that helps make up for the pain caused by county's recently instituted income tax.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

FUEL: Gas business steady, but all eyes on Ukraine

FUEL: Gas business steady, but all eyes on Ukraine

The fuel business is holding steady after rebounding from a slow start.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

HEALTH CARE: Decreased inpatients, high fees challenge health care

HEALTH CARE: Decreased inpatients, high fees challenge health care

The continuing pattern of decreased hospital inpatient admissions, along with increased fees under a hospital assessment fee program, paint a bleak picture for the hospital industry in 2014, said Gene Diamond, Franciscan Alliance Northern Ind…

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

INVESTMENTS: Markets holding up well, expected to grow

INVESTMENTS: Markets holding up well, expected to grow

The stock market had an incredible year last year and started 2014 with a bang, said Mark Ennes, a wealth management adviser for the Merrill Lynch's Merrillville office.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

GROCERY: Industry doing well in spite of increased competition

GROCERY: Industry doing well in spite of increased competition

The grocery industry is prospering, even though the greater Chicago market is crowded with competition, Strack & Van Til president Dave Wilkinson said. 

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

MANUFACTURING: Shipments rising despite weather, logistical challenges

MANUFACTURING: Shipments rising despite weather, logistical challenges

A Hammond service center, which is one of the largest distributors of tin mill and coated steel products, is starting to see 5 to 6 percent increases in sales. 

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

SMALL RETAIL: Sales get a spring in their step

SMALL RETAIL: Sales get a spring in their step

Pent up demand is resulting in increased sales for retailers, as the public thaws out from a long winter by opening purses and wallets.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

RETAIL: After sluggish start, business picks up

RETAIL: After sluggish start, business picks up

With Region residents snowed in for part of the start of 2014, retail struggled.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

TRANSPORTATION: Chicago events again drawing South Shore riders

People are returning to Chicago events and using the South Shore to get there, in a hopeful sign that ridership declines may finally reverse this year on the commuter railroad.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

STEEL: Automotive sales, construction key for steel industry

STEEL: Automotive sales, construction key for steel industry

Demand for steel was relatively flat in the United States in 2013, but AcrelorMittal is expecting a 4 percent increase in demand and shipments this year.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

RESTAURANTS: Beef, wages, Obamacare challenge industry

RESTAURANTS: Beef, wages, Obamacare challenge industry

Soaring beef prices are the latest challenge to confront the restaurant industry, which is facing market and political forces unlike any in recent memory.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

MEDIA: Consumers thaw out, start to spend

MEDIA: Consumers thaw out, start to spend

With one of the harshest winters in recent memory now past, local media is heating up.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

UTILITIES: Cold winter leads to price swings

UTILITIES: Cold winter leads to price swings

The severe winter weather kept energy suppliers in the United States busy but disruptions to customers appear to have been kept to a minimum.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

Optimism blooming among Board of Economist members

Optimism blooming among Board of Economist members

The refrain has been familiar almost every time The Times Board of Economists has met over the past few years: The economy is improving but slowly, more slowly than anyone would like.

May 03, 2014 5:30 pm Photos

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