IU Forecast: Continued Economic Growth in 2018
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana's economy should stay hot in 2018, according to IU's annual forecast.
Kelley School of Business analysts predict national economic growth of 2.6%, and say Indiana could outperform that by a couple of tenths of a point. Economist Kyle Anderson says business investment, consumer spending and housing starts are all growing steadily, with no indications that will change.
The forecast expects about 2,000,000 new jobs nationwide, but says Indiana is already close to full employment and shouldn't expect much change in unemployment. Anderson says the strong jobs picture is actually holding back the economy, because there aren't enough workers for the jobs businesses need filled.
Indiana's jobless rate was close to a record low before jumping eight-tenths of a percent in the last three months -- the state has lost seven-thousand jobs in that time. Anderson says there's no cause for alarm in that increase -- he says there's always some fluctuation as new graduates enter the workforce, and discouraged workers enter or exit the labor market.
Anderson says Indiana is getting an extra boost from the outsized role played by the auto industry in the state. Auto sales are strong, and got an unexpected boost from this year's hurricanes, which put more people in need of new vehicles.
Forecasters expect consumer spending to slow down, though they still predict growth. And they're predicting increased business investment, especially if Congress passes "meaningful" tax reform.