“We got hard hit by the recession of 2001, especially after 9/11. But now we’re coming back better than ever. Today we are on fire!” Lincoln Schrock, head of ED for the nine counties of NE IN was telling me about industrial activity in the region during 2005. I saw Lincoln again at my talk in Huntington after appearing with him on a number of programs in NE IN during the past year.
“We brought in 38 new projects during the year, totaling $182 million of investment and creating 1,573 new jobs. We also had 111 companies that expanded during the year, creating 2,670 jobs with a total investment of $514 million.”
It wasn’t all good news as there were also 25 plant closings with 1,627 jobs lost, but the net result was “one of the best for the region since the mid 90s.”
The region is moving beyond its reliance upon automotive with significant investments during the year in hydrogen ($100 M); paper products ($71 M); plastics ($76 M); metal fabrication ($44 M); RVs ($26 M); food ($20 M); machining ($15 M); medical ($18 M) and several other industries. The fact that this expansion is broad based and deep speaks highly of the region and its workforce.
The NE IN region is a wonderful example of what I’m seeing repeatedly as I travel around the country. There is an incredible vibrancy going on in rural America today!