Board Of Economists
Manufacturing activity in the United States is following a similarly volatile pattern as it continues to recover from the impact of the Great Recession.
Record high average gasoline prices nationally in 2012 following on record prices the year before have big implications for retailers and the U.S. economy.
Enrollments remain strong at local colleges as the economy recovers ever so slowly, with large uncertainties such as the fiscal cliff still looming, according to Micah Pollak, Indiana University Northwest assistant professor of economics.
The media market in Northwest Indiana has proven resilient, with revenues generally up over 2012, according to Leigh Ellis, president of Radio One Communications.
Local governments across the state cut expenditures and tightened their belts in response to the recession and due to Indiana's tax caps, so operating margins are now razor thin.
Retailers saw a 2012 holiday shopping season in line with expectations, which have been taken down a notch ever since the 2008 recession and remain that way.
There is again interest in building new homes, and buyers of both new and existing homes are again looking to "move up" to something better.
Shifts in how and where the United States gets its energy is driving big changes in the utility industry and the national economy as a whole.
Northwest Indiana gaming boats are well positioned for new competition from other states, but could use some thoughtful actions by state legislators to stay on a steady course.
Construction in Northwest Indiana continues to rebound strongly from the recession, buoyed by big projects like the $3.8 billion BP refinery expansion and smaller ones such as hospital and health care upgrades, said William Hasse III, president of Hasse Construction.
Northwest Indiana bank executive David Rose said income statements of many banks around the country remain better than they were a few years ago as a result of improved economic conditions.
Although local union leader Jim Robinson said the economy "seems" to be getting better, there isn't a large share of job growth occurring in Northwest Indiana, especially within the manufacturing sector.
Light vehicle sales in the United States rising 13.4 percent in 2012 from a year earlier shows that the industry continues to show improvements from the depths of the recession, said automobile dealership owner Tim Roper.
Retail performance during the 2012 holiday shopping season was largely disappointing because of expectations formed based on sales early in the year, Joshua Halpern said.
Con artists are continuing to use seemingly philanthropic ventures to profit from tragedies occurring late in 2012 such as Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, said Gail Zurek.
Conditions within the grocery segment are encouraging the trend of smaller chains of stores selling out to become part of larger "super-independent" ones, said Dave Wilkinson.
Consumers' use of credit and debit cards continues to increase at Northwest Indiana shops, gas stations and restaurants.
Northwest Indiana business executives are seeing the signs of a sustained -- yet slow -- economic recovery in the region this year. But the 22-member Times Board of Economists is split on how quickly challenges such as elevated unemployment will be resolved.
As the economy goes, so does United States Steel Corp.
Next year's order of a burger, fries and pop could cost more, as the fast food industry braces for the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
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