An Indiana economist says 2012 should look a lot like 2011 when it comes to economic growth.
Ball State economist Michael Hicks calculated two forecasts for the next year – an optimistic one incorporating a gas price of $3 per gallon, the other with gas prices at $4 dollars. Hicks says neither forecast includes substantial growth over 2011.
“Overall growth in the Indiana economy is going to be just barely above the rate that a natural growth of households and population would sustain and barely above inflation,” he says. “So we’re talking about another year of tepid economic activity.”
Hicks says unemployment could drop to as low as 8.3 percent by the end of 2012 but could also be as high as 9.5 percent. He says his pessimistic outlook includes a greater number of people no longer looking for work.
“So it’s not just the lack of job growth but also disappointment in labor markets that turns people out of the labor market entirely,” Hicks says.
Indiana’s current unemployment rate is 9 percent.