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Economic update: strong 2017 ahead

Economic update: strong 2017 ahead
Economic update: strong 2017 ahead
Dr. Uric Dufrene points to one of his many graphs presented at the annual Labor Day Economic Update. Photo by Ross Schulz

The focus of the annual Labor Day Economic Update, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County and the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., was once again current trends and future prognostications regarding the local and national economy.
Manufacturing figures show 2017 will be an above-average year, according to Uric Dufrene, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Southeast, who has been the featured speaker at many economic updates in the past.
Next year should see continued strong growth for Southern Indiana with strong job gains, he said. And the numbers certainly do not support a recession.
Manufacturing jobs in the Louisville metro will also continue to grow and actually will see accelerated, stronger growth for the rest of 2016 into 2017.
Dufrene also said to expect the federal reserve to raise the interest rate in December.
Dufrene and the other featured speaker, Ron McKulick, executive director for the Region 10 Workforce Board, also heaped praise on Harrison County for its work securing the Stellar designation for the town of Corydon at the event held at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Bridgeport.
Dufrene said improving quality of place for the area (mentioning the Stellar program and other improvements in Harrison County) is critical to future economic growth for the entire region.
He said it supports labor force growth and diversification.
McKulick echoed those comments and said Harrison County’s actions were ‘spot on.’
Another common theme throughout the presentations was the need for a better educated workforce.
For jobs in the six key sectors of the labor market, projections show 75 percent require a post-secondary degree. And across the entire labor market, 60 percent have the college degree requirement.
Locally, McKulick said talent demand exceeds the talent supply, in terms of skilled workers.
He said a couple factors contributing to the problem is the fact that the educational lag remains significant and there’s a misalignment of talent needs in post-secondary education.
He also said the ‘silver tsunami’ of retiring baby-boomers contributes significantly to the shrinking workforce.
Tom Fields, director of communications and business expansion with the EDC, started the program with an update about Harrison County activities.
‘Two weeks ago, Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the Town of Corydon as a Stellar community,’ he said. ‘What this means is millions of dollars in both public and private investment for Corydon both now and in the future. It also means forming partnerships between us and state agencies that can make good things happen … One of the previous award recipients claimed that their county has seen over $150 million in private investment since they were designated a Stellar community. The bottom line is, Harrison County is on the map.’