Times Board of Economists: Sector by sector
The gaming industry in Indiana continues to be affected by trends both national and regional, with casino operators keeping a wary eye on new competition from neighboring states.
Grocery stores have been getting by, but face headwinds that include fierce competition and increasingly cost-conscious customers.
The retail sector is on an upward climb, with buyers looking to national economic health as their cue.
Philanthropic donations are expected to grow in the next six months, in what will be a long return to donor levels before 2008-09, said Harry Vande Velde III, president and CEO of Legacy Foundation.
Consumer sentiment has been improving, but the economy still has weakness, a Northwest Indiana banker said.
High gas prices have squeezed the wholesale and retail gasoline industries, said Tom Collins, the chief executive officer of Luke Oil.
This year stands to be a profitable one for local farmers, in terms of crop yields and high commodity prices.
A national feeling of uncertainty about the continued roll out of the Affordable Care Act, especially as the individual mandate portion goes into effect Jan. 1, has trickled down to the local level.
More commuters took the South Shore in both May and June as compared to a year ago, providing hope the commuter railroad may soon see a ridership turnaround.
Lake County taxpayers will begin feeling the pain this October, when the county's first-ever income tax hits paychecks.
Enrollment remains strong at local institutes of higher learning, following a swell of people returning to college when the market collapsed in 2008.
Steelmakers continue to struggle with weak demand, low prices and overcapacity.
Cooler than normal summer weather is helping to keep electric prices moderate in the short-term, while low natural gas prices are doing the same for the long-term outlook.
Northwest Indiana Realtors are riding a wave of almost two years worth of monthly sales increases, while keeping a wary eye out for market changes that could affect future sales.
Soft demand and overcapacity issues have been nagging the steel industry, Berlin Metals president Roy Berlin said.
Business has been good for those with the experience and know-how to mine the Northwest Indiana media market, with stronger ad sales and social media boosting revenues.
Numbers show consumers are loosening the grip on their wallets, but slowly.
The auto industry has been having a pretty good year, and has been been boosted by a surge in pickup truck sales, said Tim Roper, owner of Smith Motors Auto Group.
Small retailers are keeping a wary on eye on prices while looking for new ways to better serve the customer.
The mammoth BP refinery expansion in Whiting is winding down, but contractors are hopeful the local construction industry will stay afloat.
Work remains steady at Northwest Indiana’s major manufacturers, but a local union leader said the number of job would increase if there were more construction projects and infrastructure spending.
The economy has moving, but not in a stellar fashion, a Northwest Indiana investment advisor said.
Too many people are still out of work, a local labor leader said.
Auto dealers had been enjoying the highest sales since 2007 until the government shutdown paralyzed many consumers with uncertainty, said Tim Roper, owner of Smith Motors Auto Group.
Automakers sold about 15.6 million cars last year, the highest number since 2007, when 16.1 million units were sold.
The steel industry got a boost from strong car sales in 2013, which hopefully should continue into this year, said Susan Zlajic, manager of government affairs at ArcelorMittal USA Inc.
The economy is recovering, but the wealth that has been generated is not being shared widely, a local labor leader said.
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.
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.