Indiana residents pleased with job attraction, split on free trade

The Indiana Statehouse. A majority of Hoosiers said they were satisfied with the state's job creation efforts.

Doug Ross, The Times

Indiana residents are generally pleased with the state's job attraction effects, more so if they happen to be high earners, according to a new Ball State University study.

The Old National Bank/Ball State University study by Princeton Survey Research International, which surveyed 600 Hoosiers in October, found 70 percent of survey respondents say they are very or somewhat satisfied with what the state has done to attract jobs.

Indiana had an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent last month, and record employment of more than 2.9 million, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

But Indiana has traditionally fared poorly in income, leading many to question the quality of jobs in the Hoosier state. The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis said Hoosiers make 12 percent less than the average American and the state ranks 34th nationally with a per capital personal income of $43,097.

People with higher incomes were generally more satisfied with the job outlook in the state. 

"Satisfaction depends in part on household income levels," Ball State said in a news release. "Among Hoosiers from households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more, 83 percent were satisfied; among households with annual incomes under $30,000 the satisfaction rate was only 54 percent."

About 35 percent of survey respondents said they thought free trade agreements helped their family's financial situation, while 33 percent said they definitely or probably hurt their finances and 34 percent weren't sure.

Views of free trade were more favorable among respondents with a college degree, according to Ball State. Forty-four percent thought free trade had helped, compared to only 18 percent who thought those agreements had hurt.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.