A new report says Indiana's economy grew faster in 2013 than those of all our neighboring states.
The federal government's Bureau of Economic Analysis says Indiana's gross domestic product rose by 2.1 percent last year, down from 2.5 percent in 2012 but still leading the bureau's Great Lakes Region. The region is made up of five states, and Indiana's growth was narrowly ahead of Michigan's 2.0 percent, Ohio's 1.8 percent, the 1.7 percent rate in Wisconsin and Illinois's growth of 0.9 percent. Indiana also grew faster than Kentucky, which saw its GDP rise by 1.6 percent last year.
One economist says this vindicates those who have sought to establish tax and incentive policies which lure businesses to the state. "We knew this would happen, it just took some patience, but now it's occurring. We are seeing the results of long-term fiscal planning," said Matt Will, associate professor of finance at the University of Indianapolis. "It may not be a great growth rate, but it's certainly better than all the states near us."
Will also contends that the national economy is dragging Indiana down from what could have been a growth rate as high as three or four percent. "We cannot overcome national barriers like the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank (the financial regulation law), and Indiana has a large coal industry, and it's clear that the new (EPA) regulations coming out of Washington are going to harm the state's economy."
Indiana probably has seen a slowdown this year, as the national economy contracted in the first quarter. But Will says the rest of the year should be better. "While last quarter's GDP was negative, that's an old indicator. The Production Manufacturing Index has grown - manufacturing is currently expanding, so I'm optimistic that things look good into the future and that the manufacturing base is expanding."