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Economic Outlook Weak for 2011

Indiana’s unemployment rate is high and experts say the 2011 year may not offer any relief. The state’s business outlook doesn’t offer much good news for the coming year, said Indiana Business Research Center Director Jerry Conver. “We’ve got 300,000 plus Hoosiers that used to be on payrolls that aren’t currently. We’ve picked up about 40,000 jobs since the start of this year.”

But the number is less than 1 out of 5 of the people who lost their jobs, and haven’t gotten jobs back said Conover. He said the number of people unemployed has been holding steady around 10% and until unemployment drops substantially spending will be sluggish.

“We don’t really see a lot of prospect for the unemployment numbers to come down much in the year ahead.”

Bloomington Economic Development Council President Ron Walker said he has noticed a change. “It’s a changing landscape. The main driving variables are now the cost of labor, the availability of labor and the skill sets of labor.”

Walker said it’s now more customary for companies to hire multi-faceted workers, rather than those who specialize in just one skill, and in a community like Monroe County, that’s beneficial. Being a competitive community is what’s going to drive business to the area in the future.

“An educated workforce attracts and retains the types of employers the area needs,” said Walker.

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