- STEEL: Shipments strong to auto, appliance industries
- TRANSPORTATION: South Shore ends year strong
- AGRICULTURE: Corn, soy prices down; food purchasing up
- MEDIA: 2014 a year to charge forward
- AUTOMOTIVE: Auto sales hit their highest point since 2007 last year
- MANUFACTURING: Factories expect to see more growth in 2014
- RESTAURANTS: Obamacare, minimum wage could be one-two punch
- COMMERCE: Business interest in Porter County increases
Times Board Of Economists
The banking sector remains strong despite in dip in mortgage activity and a wave of consolidations, a Northwest Indiana banker said.
Stack & Van Til president Dave Wilkinson said grocery stores have been doing well, but depend on a healthy economy.
Manufacturing has been doing fairly well, and should see continued strength going into 2014, Berlin Metals president Roy Berlin said.
Investors had reason to celebrate, as last year U.S. stocks posted their best year since 1997.
Looming uncertainties such as Obamacare and taxes have region business leaders expecting a flat performance from the U.S. economy in the near term and perhaps an economic uptick by year's end.
The gaming market has largely stabilized in Northwest Indiana, with the immediate impact of Illinois moves like slots in bars and the Rivers Casino opening there now fading.
As the economy improves, advertisers are staying loyal to what works, whether that be traditional or new media, said Jennifer Finnerty, Radio One Communications general manager.
The manufacturing sector continues to improve, and the steel industry in particular has been buoyed by strong auto sales, Berlin Metals president Roy Berlin said.
Small retailers are already preparing for the holiday season, while still striving to catch the last of summer and back-to-school shoppers.
Despite the best efforts of Washington politicians to cripple U.S. economic growth, American businesses are overcoming all odds to build a sustained recovery.
The base of activity in Northwest Indiana's construction market is broadening, with residential and commercial activity now rebounding after years of lackluster performance.
Short line railroads like South Shore Freight are powering the nation's rail recovery, with total carloads on short lines up 7.5 percent compared to one year ago, according to Railway Age magazine.
Natural gas prices continue to trade within moderate ranges, despite some fears demand from gas-fired electric generating plants might drive up prices during the summer.
Lake County's last-in-the-state local income tax is now nicking wage earners' paychecks, but they will get something back for their money.
Major financial markets have been performing well, but the shutdown could slow the pace of growth, a Northwest Indiana investment adviser said.
Despite a one-year reprieve for small businesses, Obamacare remains a looming uncertainty for restaurants and others.
Northwest Indiana home sales have increased on a year-over-year basis for 27 straight months due to better consumer confidence, increased employment and low interest rates.
Grocery stores are working to remain relevant to customers, such as by offering more natural foods, said Stack & Van Til president Dave Wilkinson.
The banking sector has been improving gradually over the last couple years, and should continue to make positive gains, a Northwest Indiana banker said.
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