New Microbrewery Headed to Historic Georgetown

Off the Rails, LLC is opening a new upscale microbrewery and restaurant, Rails and Ales Brew House, adjacent to Georgetown Park.  

Georgetown, Ind. (December 18, 2023)

Georgetown keeps on growing. Off the Rails, LLC has chosen a location on State Road 64 in Georgetown’s downtown, adjacent to Georgetown Park. This new venture, Rails and Ales Brew House, will be a welcomed amenity to support continued residential growth in the region.

Rails and Ales Brew House will be an upscale microbrewery and restaurant, with its design and theme coming from the railroad tracks that travel through the historic portion of Georgetown. The two-story building will house two bars and a self-service restaurant.  Customers will also be able to order food to go using their drive-through.

“We can’t wait to bring this microbrewery and restaurant to Georgetown,” said Justin Juhasz, one of the owners of Rails and Ales Brew House. “Our hope is to create an atmosphere new to the Georgetown area and showcase our beautiful town by having a dining option close to the Georgetown Park.”

In addition to brewing their own craft beer, Rails and Ales Brew House will carry a selection of craft beers from other breweries, as well as wine options. They will also have TVs and other amenities to make it the local spot to relax and spend time with friends and family.

Off the Rails, LLC estimates over $1,000,000 will go into the building for improvements, new equipment, and more. The location also plans to hire at least eight individuals for full-time roles.  To support this growth, the Town of Georgetown is offering the company personal and real property tax abatement, phasing in its new property taxes over four and six years, respectively.

“The Town Council is thrilled to see this investment in our downtown,” noted Chris Loop, Town Council President. “Residents have been asking for a concept just like this, and our redevelopment plan calls for it. Our tax incentives should signal that the Town of Georgetown is open for business investment.”

“One Southern Indiana (1si) has seen a lot of growth in Georgetown over the last few years,” said John Launius, Vice President and Director of Economic Development with One Southern Indiana. “Off the Rails, LLC is bringing an exciting new opportunity for residents of Georgetown with Rails and Ales Brew House, and we will continue to partner with them to position them for long-term success in the region.”  

About Off the Rails, LLC

Off the Rails, LLC is a local company in Georgetown, Ind. The owners also own Floyd Farm & Feed, a local farm, feed, and pet/livestock supply store that also offers pet grooming. The owners of Off the Rails, LLC are community-oriented and host several events each year, including an Easter egg hunt and scarecrow competition through Floyd Farm & Feed.

About One Southern Indiana
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses innovate and thrive in the Southern Indiana / Louisville metro area via the three pillars of Business Resources, Economic Development and Advocacy. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org.

Contact:

Off the Rails, LLC
Rails and Ales Brew House
Justin Juhasz, Owner
floydfarmfeed@gmail.com
812-219-7699

One Southern Indiana
Brittany Schmidt, Content Marketing and Media Relations Manager
BrittanyS@1si.org
812-945-0266

Strategic Growth: Regional OEM and Parts Supplier Looks at Southern Indiana Expansion for Increased Capacity 

Rush Group Limited LLC is set to strategically expand its regional operations to support growth.

SELLERSBURG, IN. (December 11, 2023) 

Rush Group Limited LLC, established in 2011 as an automotive-industry partner in the Detroit area, looks to expand operations to Sellersburg, IN. As a minority-owned and purpose-driven company, the group fulfills an important need for large clients who have made diversity part of hiring and procurement processes while getting the highest quality products at a fair price. The Rush family of companies has focused on a community and customer-centered approach since their formation in 1984.

Rush Group Limited now plans to invest $15 million to support strategic operational growth, which includes new machinery and equipment, IT/hardware, building improvements, and new furniture and fixtures at the Sellersburg facility. Plans also include leasing 417,270 sq ft. in Silver Creek Logistics Center – Building B, located at 7803 Highway 31 in Sellersburg, IN, which was recently developed by Clarion Partners and represented by NAI Fortis Group. In addition, the Sellersburg-based operation will also add up to 180 new full-time jobs.

“We’re excited for the company’s continued growth as it indicates the confidence and value offered to our customers,” says Lori Lancaster, President of Rush Group Limited. “Our success is built on being a trusted partner to our clients and this investment in the Town of Sellersburg strongly positions us to meet our growing client demand.”

Based on the company’s investment and job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) committed an investment in Rush Group Limited, LLC of up to $1.8 million in the form of incentive-based tax credits. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The Town of Sellersburg has also approved a five-year personal property tax abatement to encourage the company to select this site.
 
I’m thrilled to see Rush Group Limited choose Indiana as the location for their expanded operations,” said Ann Lathrop, Chief Strategy Officer at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Rush Group Limited is a natural fit for Indiana—together we’ll play to each other’s strength in manufacturing, logistics and supply chain management. Their commitment to bringing high-quality career opportunities to diverse communities will bring prosperity and growth to Sellersburg. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the company and community will grow together.”

“The Town of Sellersburg enthusiastically welcomes this significant project from the Rush Group Limited to our growing community,” says Brad Amos, Council President for the Town of Sellersburg. “This planned investment, and subsequent hiring of 180 employees, offers a recurring benefit to our community and local economy that will be realized for years to come. Congratulations to Rush Group Limited on the continued growth within the region, and welcome to the Town of Sellersburg!” 

“This announced growth from Rush Group Limited is yet another nod to our region’s unparalleled manufacturing and logistics advantage,” says John Launius, Vice President and Director of Economic Development at One Southern Indiana (1si). “Rush Group Limited and their affiliated companies offer a tremendous and growing value to their customers, and we are honored they have chosen the Town of Sellersburg and our entire region to invest.”

About One Southern Indiana 
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses innovate and thrive in the Southern Indiana / Louisville metro area via the three pillars of Business Resources, Economic Development, and Advocacy. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org.  

 

Contact: 

Rush Group Limited, LLC
Aaron River
Aaron.Rivers@rushgroup-ltd.com
502-710-9970
 

One Southern Indiana 
Brittany Schmidt, Content Marketing and Media Relations Manager 
BrittanyS@1si.org  
812-945-0266 

 

Economic Update | On Final Approach for a Soft Landing

submitted by
Uric Dufrene, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sanders Chair in Business, Indiana University Southeast

The economy is now on its final approach for a soft landing. Over the past few weeks, indicators provided key evidence that the nation’s economy will escape both a recession and move past higher inflation. As with all soft landings, it does not mean that we will escape a few bumps (i.e. slower growth next year) as we descend. The forward-looking equity markets also point to this scenario, as evidenced by the almost 10% gain in the Dow since early November.

Several key reports came out that support this soft-landing scenario. The first has to do with inflation itself. The last Consumer Price Index release showed that inflation declined to 3.2%, and the core rate (minus food and energy) declined to 4%. The significance of the report, however, was that it came in below expectations, by just 1/10th of a point.   The market was expecting a CPI of 3.1%, and the report showed price gains of 3%. On a monthly basis, the CPI showed that inflation was 0%. After the equity markets digested this information, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with the Dow increasing by almost 500 points, and the NASDAQ up by over 2% on the day.  The CME Fed Watch Tool now shows a 97% probability of no rate increase at the December Fed FOMC meeting.  The odds currently favor the first rate reduction in May 2024, although it is still less than 50%.  The other piece of inflation data digested by markets was the preferred Fed inflation measure, the PCE Deflator.  It also provided additional evidence that inflation is getting under control, showing price increases of just 3%, moving closer to the 2% Fed target.

While labor markets remain tight, with job openings exceeding the number of unemployed, evidence continues to build that the job market continues to show some softening.  The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report showed a decline in nationwide job openings to 8.7 million, with the market expecting 9.3 million.  Fewer openings show that the supply and demand of labor continue to move toward a greater balance. Meanwhile, the last employment report (from a survey of establishments) showed the nation gained 199,000 jobs, just over the market consensus.  A portion of this gain was returning UAW strike workers and state and local government showed a big job in payrolls.  The private sector only showed job gains of 150,000, and when you strip away the return of UAW workers, private payrolls came in weaker than in the past.   In the past six months, private payroll gains averaged 129,000, compared to 228,000 in the first half of the year.    

On the plus side, there was a big jump in the nation’s labor force (from the household survey of the employment report), increasing by more than 500,000. This is important for the supply side part of the economy and the headwinds this will place on average hourly earnings, both contributing factors to containing inflation.  More impressive than the gain to the labor force was the increase of more than 750,000 in the number of employed.   Employment increasing faster than labor force growth will push the unemployment rate down, and it did indeed fall by 2/10ths of a point.  That was quite significant. 

When you combine weaker payroll growth and a decline in job openings, a drop in the unemployment rate, and continued deceleration in average hourly earnings, a soft landing gets into view.

One more significant piece of economic data released in the past couple of weeks was on productivity and unit labor costs.  At the start of the pandemic, productivity saw a significant jump as fewer workers maintained or even increased production. This increased output, per unit of labor, led to a spike in labor productivity. Starting around the 3rd quarter of 2020, productivity bounced back and forth and then in early 2022, began a gradual decline. This was surprising due to the significant increase in capital investments and technologies over 2021, which should have led to an increase in productivity.  Since March of this year, productivity has been on the rebound, and the last report showed another noticeable increase. This is important because productivity results in lower unit labor costs, thus making companies more profitable, and helps to contain inflation.   

So, when we combine economic indicators on inflation, labor markets, and productivity, one can conclude that the economy is on the final approach to a soft landing.  

Economic Update | A Slowdown on the Horizon?

submitted by
Uric Dufrene, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sanders Chair in Business, Indiana University Southeast

In just one short week, the S&P 500 added more than 5%, and the Dow more than 1,600 points.  It was not just one indicator that led to this surge, but a confluence of events and indicators that provided more convincing that the Fed is done with interest rate increases. This is consistent with the call made back in June, that the chance for any additional Fed hikes for the rest of the year would be doubtful. Next year is to be determined. For now, we can expect an extended pause in rates.

Market pricing places a high probability of a hold in rate increases until May 2024, when the odds favor the first rate cut.  Several factors are contributing to this market sentiment.  First, more evidence surfaced that the economy may be entering a cooling phase, despite the blockbuster 3rd quarter GDP report.  GDP increased by almost 5%, an above-normal rate of growth, but we must remember that GDP is backward-looking. Last Friday’s national employment report showed that the economy added 150,000 jobs in October, short of the 180,000-consensus forecast. Looking under the hood, the private sector economy only added just over 100,000 jobs.  More than 1/3 of job gains came in the government sector, adding 51,000 jobs. Additionally, the strong payroll gains of August and September were less than originally expected.  Revisions wiped away 101,000 of these payrolls. 

The household survey component of the report showed an overall decline in employment of 348,000 and a decline in the labor force. The number of unemployed increased by 146,000, pushing the nation’s unemployment rate to 3.9%, representing a ½ percent increase since the year-low rate of 3.4%.  Altogether, the report showed an overall softening in the nation’s labor market, a marked decline from the job gains observed over 2022, and earlier this year. 

Other signs of a pending slowdown came from a national survey on manufacturing.  The report indicated another contraction for manufacturing, more than the consensus forecast. The survey pointed to reduced new orders and order backlogs and declining employment. A sampling of respondent comments:  “Economy absolutely slowing down”, “Seeing a slowdown in bookings”, and a “Slow fourth quarter”.

The slowdowns in some parts of the economy are counterbalanced by the resilient consumer.  The last report on retail sales was very strong, more than what had been expected. Unfortunately, the robust consumer spending that we’ve been observing will gradually begin to cool down. High-interest rates, overall higher prices, including the cost of shelter, and approaching labor market softness will finally begin to curtail consumer activity.  Beyond that, the significant pickup in consumer spending that the economy observed due to government stimulus and pandemic-induced behavioral changes will gradually bring the consumer back to earth. It is only a matter of time.    

Some clues and evidence on a softening consumer economy are beginning to emerge.  The household debt ratio has moderated since December of last year but remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.  Consumers have been using debt to finance some of this spending, and this is not sustainable. Delinquency rates on consumer loans and credit cards are now higher than levels that existed just before the pandemic. Auto loan delinquency rates are also higher than levels that existed at the start of the pandemic. Mortgage delinquencies have also been climbing, but still lower than levels of 2020.  Discretionary spending at food and beverage places, arguably a leading consumer indicator, is beginning to show some erosion. Credit card transactions, as provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, on food services and drinking places have noticeably declined in activity since August. 

It is premature to call a recession at this point.  While some consumer red flags are beginning to emerge, the household sector is still stronger today than prior to the pandemic.  Higher net worth levels from housing values and equity markets will serve as a buffer for any slowdown. The next three months will contain some valuable indicators on the economy’s trajectory in 2024.  As of today, a slowdown may be on the horizon. 

Gov. Holcomb announces Canadian Solar building new $800M solar cell manufacturing facility in Southeast Indiana

Company’s investment will add 1,200 jobs, produce 5GW annually at River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville, powering solar energy across U.S.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. October 30, 2023– Governor Eric Holcomb today announced plans for a new solar photovoltaic (PV) cell production facility in Indiana. Canadian Solar’s new plant, which will be the company’s second solar module production facility in the U.S., will create approximately 1,200 new jobs in Jeffersonville over the next several years. 

“Indiana’s strong advanced manufacturing sector positions the state to help lead the global energy transition, developing and powering new solutions in batteries, solar and hydrogen,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Canadian Solar’s new U.S. location in Jeffersonville will put our skilled Hoosier workforce at the center of cultivating solar power, making energy efficient panels more accessible to consumers across the country.”

Canadian Solar, an integrated provider of solar power products, services and system solutions, will invest a projected $800 million to construct and equip a state-of-the-art PV cell manufacturing plant at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville. The new plant will produce an annual output of 5GW – equivalent to approximately 20,000 high-power solar panels per day – and ship the finished cells to the company’s new module assembly facility in Texas, announced earlier this year. Production is expected to begin by the end of 2025. 

“Establishing this factory is a key milestone that will enable us to better serve our U.S. customers with the most advanced technology in the industry,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, founder and CEO of Canadian Solar, emphasizing the importance of this new facility. “This is the second of the anticipated long-term investments we expect to make in the U.S. as we think strategically about a sustainable and resilient clean energy supply chain. We thank the state of Indiana, Clark County, and the city of Jeffersonville for their critical support and we look forward to working with them as we grow.”

Canadian Solar plans to begin hiring for new positions in mid-2024 and will ramp up hiring in early 2025 to fully staff the Jeffersonville plant. This facility joins the global manufacturing facilities in Canada, China, Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand.

“The city of Jeffersonville is pleased that Canadian Solar has chosen River Ridge Commerce Center as home for their newest critical production facility in the United States,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. “Not only are they making a large financial investment into our community, but they will also become one of the largest single-site employers in the Greater Louisville region. When in full production, their total employment base will include over 150 engineers at this facility. We are thrilled to see a global industry leader join our community and provide a product with enormous potential.”

“This is a historic investment in River Ridge and Southern Indiana,” said Jerry Acy, executive director of the River Ridge Development Authority. “The technologies of the future are being built right here at River Ridge, I want to thank Dr. Shawn Qu and his team at Canadian Solar for their commitment to our region. We look forward to a successful partnership that will launch the next generation of solar power.”

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation committed an investment in Canadian Solar of up to $9.7 million in the form of conditional tax credits and up to $400,000 in conditional training grants. The IEDC also committed an investment of up to $2 million in conditional redevelopment tax credits based on the company’s investment plans and up to $200,000 in Manufacturing Readiness Grants. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim state benefits once investments are made and employees are hired and trained. The City of Jeffersonville and the River Ridge Development Authority offered additional incentives.

                                                                         – 30 –

About Canadian Solar Canadian Solar was founded in 2001 in Canada and is one of the world’s largest solar technology and renewable energy companies. It is a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules, provider of solar energy and battery storage solutions, and developer of utility-scale solar power and battery storage projects with a geographically diversified pipeline in various stages of development. Over the past 22 years, Canadian Solar has successfully delivered around 88 GW of premium-quality, solar photovoltaic modules to customers across the world. Likewise, since entering the project development business in 2010, Canadian Solar has developed, built and connected around 8.8 GWp in over 20 countries across the world. Currently, the Company has approximately 574 MWp of projects in operation, 6.7 GWp of projects under construction or in backlog (late-stage), and an additional 18 GWp of projects in advanced and early-stage pipeline. Canadian Solar is one of the most bankable companies in the solar and renewable energy industry, having been publicly listed on the NASDAQ since 2006. For additional information about the Company, follow Canadian Solar on LinkedIn or visit www.canadiansolar.com

International Restaurant Chain Announces New Bakery and Distribution Hub in Southern Indiana

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated will open a large-scale bakery to distribute its iconic desserts. 

Charlestown, IN. (October 25, 2023) 

Charlestown is welcoming a high-profile name to its community. The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, an industry-leading restaurant, is opening a large bakery for manufacturing and distributing its iconic cheesecake and other desserts to operators, retailers, and distributors. The bakery and operations will be housed in the River Ridge Commerce Center and will invest over $74 million into the land, construction, machinery, fixtures, and IT. By 2025, the bakery and distribution operations should have more than 200 employees, making an average wage higher than the Clark County average.  

The Cheesecake Factory, known for its extensive menu, is a leader in experiential dining. The company has more than 300 restaurants in the United States and Canada across its portfolio of concepts and operates two bakery facilities in the United States. They were named to the FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list for the 10th consecutive year in 2023. The bakery’s role is to produce high-quality cheesecake and desserts for the company’s restaurants and licensees as well as third-party customers.  

“We are very pleased to locate our new bakery production facility in Charlestown, Indiana,” said David Overton, Founder, Chairman and CEO of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated.  “This year is the 51st anniversary of my parents opening the first Cheesecake Factory Bakery, and it also marks the 45th anniversary of opening our first restaurant in Beverly Hills.  Over the last half-century our desserts have developed a reputation around the world, and we are so pleased that we’ll have a third bakery production facility to support our domestic and international growth into the future.”   

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) committed to an investment in The Cheesecake Factory Bakery of up to $2.6 million in the form of conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in conditional training grants. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired and investments are made. River Ridge Commerce Center is also offering tax savings of approximately $6.3 million on real and personal property and will be making additional road improvements to support the project.  

“Indiana’s strengths in agbioscience and manufacturing make our state the ideal destination to help companies like The Cheesecake Factory to develop products and serve customers across the country,” said Ann Lathrop, chief strategy officer at the IEDC. “As a state, we’re committed to advancing economic and community development in all communities across Indiana. This new investment will accelerate industry growth in Charlestown and the surrounding southeast Indiana region, creating new jobs and new opportunities for Hoosier families to prosper.” 

“What an amazing opportunity for the City of Charlestown and the region,” said Mayor Treva Hodges. “We are excited to be the third production site for The Cheesecake Factory’s bakery operations, and can’t wait to see the community impact their investment will bring our growing area.   

“This commitment by The Cheesecake Factory to bring its bakery production facility to River Ridge is a major moment for the commerce center and exemplifies the investment and rapid growth we’re creating on the Charlestown side of River Ridge,” said Jerry Acy, River Ridge Development Authority Executive Director. “It is truly a pleasure working with David Overton and his team at The Cheesecake Factory, I am proud of what this partnership brings to Southern Indiana and the region.”

“This is a huge win for the City of Charlestown and the Southern Indiana region,” added John Launius, Vice President and Director of Economic Development for One Southern Indiana.  “It is exciting for us to be the newest home to a company with great name recognition and a stellar international reputation for service and quality.  The company’s growth trajectory will benefit Southern Indiana families for decades to come.” 

About The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated 

The Cheesecake Factory is a leader in experiential dining. We are culinary forward and relentlessly focused on hospitality. Delicious, memorable experiences created by passionate people – this defines who we are and where we are going. We currently own and operate 324 restaurants throughout the United States and Canada under brands including The Cheesecake Factory®, North Italia® and a collection within our Fox Restaurant Concepts business. Internationally, 31 The Cheesecake Factory® restaurants operate under licensing agreements. Our bakery division operates two facilities that produce quality cheesecakes and other baked products for our restaurants, international licensees and third-party bakery customers. In 2023, we were named to the FORTUNE Magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list for the tenth consecutive year. To learn more, visit www.thecheesecakefactory.com, www.northitalia.com and www.foxrc.com

From Fortune ©2023 Fortune Media IP Limited. All rights reserved. Used under license. Fortune and Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For are registered trademarks of Fortune Media IP Limited and are used under license. Fortune and Fortune Media IP Limited are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated. 

About One Southern Indiana 
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses innovate and thrive in the Southern Indiana / Louisville metro area via the three pillars of Business Resources, Economic Development and Advocacy. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org

Contact: 
The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated 
Investors  
Etienne Marcus 
818-871-3000 
investorrelations@thecheesecakefactory.com  

Media
Berk Communications
Brooke Levine / Gabrielle Gaines
732-735-5982 / 917-991-8354 
cheesecake@berkcommunications.com

One Southern Indiana 
Brittany Schmidt, Content Marketing and Media Relations Manager 

BrittanyS@1si.org  
812-945-0266 

 

### 

Local AISC Certified Steel Fabricator and Manufacturer Expanding Operations

Midwest Metal Works, Inc. is expanding operations to include new machinery and training.

New Albany, IN. (October 19, 2023)

Midwest Metal Works, Inc. is growing. The steel fabricator and manufacturer plan to invest in new machinery and training to increase production and create additional business for the Indiana-based company. The total capital investment is estimated at $1,372,873, creating 12 more jobs with an average wage of over $42.00.

Midwest Metal Works has been a local industrial, commercial, and sheet metal fabricator and manufacturer since 2006. The company includes skilled journeymen and apprentices and has created products for many industries, including power generation plants, oil refineries, food manufacturers, automotive, distilleries, and the Department of Defense. Currently, they have 11 full-time employees with an average wage of $37.00.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to expand our current operations,” said Jeff Elzy, President of Midwest Metal Works. “The increased growth we have seen over the years has led to this expansion, and with the new equipment, we can now produce more for our current clients and increase our client base to include companies that currently look out of Indiana for their products.”

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) committed to an investment in Midwest Metal Works of up to $100,000 in the form of conditional tax credits. The IEDC also committed an investment of up to $73,140 in Manufacturing Readiness Grants, which are designed to help companies invest in smart manufacturing and new technologies. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired and investments are made. In addition, the City of New Albany is offering the company personal and real property tax abatement, phasing in over five and ten years, respectively.

“Indiana’s robust manufacturing sector continues to accelerate and create new, high-wage jobs thanks to the commitment of companies like Midwest Metal Works,” said Ann Lathrop, chief strategy officer at the IEDC. “As a state, we’re working hand-in-hand with manufacturers to make critical investments in smart technologies and processes to future-proof our businesses, upskill jobs and push Hoosier manufacturing forward, ensuring Indiana is at the forefront of developing and producing the products that power tomorrow’s global economy.”

“The City of New Albany was pleased to be able to assist Midwest Metal Works with their expansion,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “It’s wonderful to see companies like Midwest Metal Works recognize the value of being located here in our River City, and we are so proud that they have chosen to expand in New Albany.”

 “We are very excited to see Midwest Metal Works continue to grow,” said John Launius, Vice President and Director of Economic Development at One Southern Indiana. “Not only are they expanding current operations, but they are also contributing to our region’s sustained economic growth by creating more opportunities for our local community.”

 

About Midwest Metal Works

Midwest Metal Works specializes in industrial metal fabrication, installation, and maintenance. With skilled journeymen and apprentices, we are able to complete the work on time and on budget. Decades of experience have allowed our reputation to grow, along with our capabilities and our client list. We supply a variety of industries, including Power Generation Plants, Oil Refineries, Food Manufacturers, Distilleries & the Automotive industry. We offer the highest level of customer service to meet the demanding expectations of our customers. For more information on Midwest Metal Works, visit www.midwestmetalworksinc.com.

About One Southern Indiana
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses innovate and thrive in the Southern Indiana / Louisville metro area via the three pillars of Business Resources, Economic Development and Advocacy. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org.

Contact:

Midwest Metal Works
Jeff Elzy, President
jeffelzy@midwestmetalworksinc.com
812-981-0810

One Southern Indiana
Brittany Schmidt, Content Marketing and Media Relations Manager
BrittanyS@1si.org
812-945-0266

Economic Update | Indiana and Kentucky’s Labor Force Challenges

submitted by
Uric Dufrene, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sanders Chair in Business, Indiana University Southeast

The latest statewide employment data show that Kentucky has one of the hottest economies nationwide.  August BLS data puts Kentucky payroll growth at about 2.6% from the same time last year. Over the year, the Bluegrass state has added about 52,000 jobs.  The Lexington and Bowling Green metropolitan areas saw the highest percentage change in jobs, at 3.4% each. The largest metropolitan area, Louisville, added about 7,000 jobs over the year, for a growth of about 1.0%. 

In contrast, Indiana added 59,000 jobs, a change of 1.7% from the previous year. The two metro areas of Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne show the highest percentage growth in jobs at 2.5% and 2.2% respectively. Three metro areas, Muncie, Elkhart-Goshen and Lafayette-West Lafayette, saw a negative change in payrolls from the year before.   Elkhart-Goshen, home to the RV manufacturing industry, saw the largest decline of 5,000 payrolls year-over-year. 

While the short-term progress in payroll growth is impressive, especially for Kentucky, the longer-term growth in the labor force for both states is troubling. Labor force growth is critical because of the impact on gross domestic product.  Limited labor force growth will ultimately show up in a state’s GDP-generating capacity unless this is counterbalanced by capital investments that result in higher productivity. 

We can compare the labor force growth of both states to neighbors as well as other states that have notched economic wins.  Since states vary by size, we need to make statistical adjustments to place states on a level playing field, or to compare apples to apples. We can do this by indexing the labor force of each comparison state to 100.  The magnitude of growth in the labor force will then show up as the difference from the starting point of 100.  

Over the past 20 years, the labor force of Indiana grew to an index of 107.85.  Kentucky is slightly under this at 103.94. You can interpret this as a 7.85% change in the labor force for Indiana since 2003, and a 3.94% change for Kentucky.  How does this compare to neighboring states?   Well, both Indiana and Kentucky fare better than Ohio (99.75%) and Illinois (102.02).  For Ohio, the state’s labor force is smaller today than 20 years ago. 

The comparisons are quite stark when you compare to states that are seeing strong economic gains, driven by labor force growth and capital investments. Kentucky’s neighbor to the South, Tennessee, has an index value of 116.7, which means its labor force has grown by almost 17%.   Georgia’s index value is 120.35, or a 20% growth in labor force.  Much has been written and documented about the population growth of states like Florida and Texas.  Both states are seeing labor force growth of 36% and 38% respectively.   Other notable observations for comparative purposes:  Idaho (139.69), Nevada (137.7), South Carolina (122.25), California (112.36), Wyoming (109.39), and the U.S. (114.46).   Indiana and Kentucky’s labor force growth has been below the U.S. for the past 20 years.

In the last state employment report, there were five states that produced job growth higher than Kentucky:  Florida (2.8%), Idaho (2.7%), Nevada (3.9%), Texas (3%), and Wyoming (2.7%).   All saw labor force growth that exceeded both Indiana and Kentucky in the past 20 years.    

For both Indiana and Kentucky, growth in the labor force is critical to their respective economic futures.  We must continue to make the quality of place investments that help boost the attractiveness of both states and help retain and attract workers.  The decline in the college-going rates of both states is alarming, and if not reversed, will make talent in-migration even more critical.  Investments in education and technology must help drive productivity gains, all being crucial for long term economic growth.    

Economic Update | The Fed versus The Data

Submitted by Uric Dufrene, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sanders Chair in Business, Indiana University Southeast

In the economic indicators game, the monthly employment report has always been the champion among all economic indicators.  The monthly payroll numbers along with the unemployment rate conveys much about the state of the macroeconomy and offers clues to both bond and stock investors.  It remains one of the most watched and followed. Since the forty-year high in inflation last year, and early inaction by the Fed, inflation indicators are now in the running for the most important and followed. From 2000 to 2021, the highest rate of core inflation was 2.93% and that occurred in the second half of 2006, just before the Great Recession. Core strips out the cost of food and energy and is a preferred measure of underlying inflation. Outside of that run-up in 2006, the highest core rate was just over 2%.  So, inflation was contained, and as a result, inflation reports such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index did not attract as much attention or excitement. Since the headline 9.1% CPI peak of last year, interest and monitoring of the CPI have increased considerably.  It is one of the reports that provides insights on prices and ultimately Fed decisions on interest rates.

“Data dependent” is a phrase that has been used by Chairman Powell over the past several FOMC meeting regarding Fed decisions on interest rates. This means that the data will ultimately determine Fed decisions, which is how it usually works, and supposed to work.  So, if inflation comes in hotter than expected, this could result in either a pause or interest rate increases.  If inflation is weaker than expected, this might produce a decision that would reduce interest rates. The Fed paused on the decision last week, holding the Fed Funds rate at 5.5%.  However, the “dot plot” was revised upward, indicating that rates would be “higher for longer”. As mentioned in a recent column, the Fed has no other choice for such a narrative.  It must be hawkish, and that was the tone of the last meeting.   Nonetheless, there was a pause in interest rates, and now the next decision moves to November. 

On data dependency, the last BLS report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that the annual rate of inflation increased from 3.2% to 3.7%. This was slightly above the consensus estimate of 3.6%. The monthly increase was .6%, the highest monthly increase in more than a year. The increase in the monthly and annual rates was due to gasoline, accounting for more than half of the monthly increase.   The cost of shelter was also a major contributor to the monthly increase. The good news was on the core rate, however. The core rate came in a little hotter on a monthly basis but declined from 4.7% to 4.3%. When you remove the cost of food, energy, shelter and used cars, the annual rate of inflation declines to 3.2%.  

How does this compare to a recent period?  Around the Great Recession and Fed policy at the time, the core rate of inflation moved from 2.93% to .6% in almost four years. This also required an unemployment rate to reach 9.9%. In the current regime, the core rate peaked at 6.64% back in September 2022, and has already declined to 4.39% in August. In less than a year, the Fed has already produced a core rate decline that equals the decline observed in 4 years around the Great Recession, and with only 2/10ths increase in the unemployment rate this time.    

Another important indicator for the Fed is average hourly earnings, and here, the trend is in the right direction.  In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, average hourly earnings were up 7.8%.   We then saw the growth in earnings fall off the cliff, declining to 1.47% in April 2021.  As the economy continued to reopen and labor shortages intensified, average hourly earnings increased by almost 7% a year later in April 2022. Since then, however, average hourly earnings changes have been on the decline.  The most recent data release shows a year-over-year change of 4.5%. 

Declining core prices, along with softening average hourly earnings, will likely produce another pause for the Fed in November. The data will drive that decision. While it may be difficult to realize, progress is being made.  An option to increase puts the possibility of another rate hike on the table, but the data will ultimately show that we will likely see another pause. 

Economic Update | Continued Strong Gains for Southern Indiana

submitted by

Uric Dufrene, Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sanders Chair in Business, Indiana University Southeast

–All eyes on CPI Wednesday

The latest employment report should put a lid on any further rate increases by the Federal this year.  The last BLS monthly report on the nation’s jobs picture showed another steady increase in payrolls, but the unemployment rate increased to 3.8%. An additional 187,000 jobs were added in August, while slower than the numbers produced last year, such a jump in payrolls would be considered quite healthy compared to historical norms. The Fed is striving for a cooling labor market, as evidenced by a higher unemployment rate, but also not putting the economy in a recession. A softening labor market should also bring more progress on the inflation front, helping meet the Fed’s dual mandate of stable prices and employment.    

The other piece of music to the Fed’s ears came in the hourly earnings figures in the report.  Average hourly earnings increased 4.3% over the year, and this was less than the consensus estimates. Slowing earnings will also serve as a headwind to higher inflation.    

There was more good news as it relates to price pressures, and that came with the jump in the labor force. The nation’s labor force increased by 736,000 in August, driving an increase in the labor force participation rate to 62.8%. An expanding labor force increases the labor pool for employers, reducing wage pressures and contributing to softer price pressures.  

Finally, the previous month’s payroll increase was revised downward, from an initial 185,000 to 105,000, a number that signals a cooling labor market.  Altogether, payrolls for the past two months were revised downward by 110,000, removing some of the steam from a previously hot labor market.

With the most recent data, the economy is inching further along to a softer landing.  Job creation continues, without significant spikes in the unemployment rate, and price pressures continue to subside.  The latest ISM report on services showed a higher-than-expected result, pointing to strength in the services side of the economy.  The most recent report on inflation, the PCE Deflator, and the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, showed that inflation increased by just 2/10ths of a percent in July. On an annual basis, this puts inflation at 2.4%, close to the Fed’s goal of 2%. The Fed will likely keep rates on hold for their next meeting. An increase is not likely, but don’t expect the Fed to reduce rates for the rest of the year. All eyes will be on the CPI report out this Wednesday. FactSet consensus estimates point to a .6% monthly gain and 3.6% on an annual basis. Anything under these numbers will be met very favorably by equity markets.  Anything higher, expect a turbulent day with stocks and bonds.

Turning to Southern Indiana, the five Indiana counties of the Louisville Metro region gained close to 3,500 jobs in the first quarter, matching the quarterly average since the 3rd quarter of 2021.  Average weekly wages notched another increase, moving to $998 a week, marking the highest wage level in Southern Indiana for any first quarter. The three leading industries based on job growth were health care and social services (+1,342), construction (+524) and retail trade (+415). Accommodation and food services notched another 380 payrolls;  industry payrolls are about 1,200 higher than the level existed during the first quarter of 2020. 

As a comparison to other metro areas across Indiana, this places Southern Indiana 2nd among metro areas with respect to payroll growth during the first quarter of 2023, and above the overall average of 1.5%. Payrolls across Southern Indiana grew by 3.1% over the year;  west Lafayette had the highest growth in payrolls with 3.8%.

Two metro areas, Kokomo and Elkhart-Goshen, saw a decline in year-over-year payrolls.  Elkhart-Goshen saw the largest percent decline, 5.5%, and an overall decline of 7,394. RV shipments are down considerably from last year, and the payroll numbers for Elkhart-Goshen likely reflect this shift in spending.

On the wage front, average weekly wages in Southern Indiana are 23.4% higher than the first quarter of 2020;  average weekly wages have gone from $809 in 2020:Q1 to $998 in 2023:Q1. The largest absolute increase occurred in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, increasing by $311 since 2020:Q1. Other notable increases since 2020 are in transportation and warehousing (+$289), wholesale trade (+$262) and information (+$243).

We’ll likely see no change in Fed rates for the rest of the year, and any recession is now postponed to 2024. Perhaps the economy will miss one altogether.  It is too early to definitively make that call, but 2023 continues to set the economy up for a softer landing in 2024.