by Jeff Cardwell
Indiana is strong and growing stronger everyday.
For the first time in more than seven years, Indiana’s unemployment rate is below 5 percent. That’s the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, our state has added more than 119,000 private sector jobs – averaging 4,100 per month over the last two years – since Gov. Mike Pence took office.
Our workforce participation is also up. In fact, our labor force has grown by 64,000 since January 2013 – the second largest increase in the Midwest. And we are growing wages faster than the national average.
In June, Indiana ranked first in the nation for cost of doing business, as well as eighth for its economy, in the recent CNBC “America’s Top States for Business 2015” scorecard.
Considering our state’s performance over the last two years, Indiana is trending positively under conservative leadership.
Our state continues to live within its means while funding priorities. We ended the fiscal year with a near-record amount in reserves and we also have a $210 million surplus despite revenue shortfalls. Indiana is also only 1 of 11 states with an AAA credit rating from all three major credit rating agencies.
Why is this important? More and more businesses are choosing Indiana. In May, Indiana ranked first in the Midwest and sixth nationwide as the best place to do business by Chief Executive magazine in its annual “Best & Worst States for Business” ranking based on surveys of more than 500 CEOs.
Just this month, Pence and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced Haier America is set to open a Technology and Design Center of Excellence in Evansville. This move is expected to create 50 high-wage technology jobs and bolster the local economy.
Success stories like this can be seen across Indiana and more are expected. This year, more than 150 companies committed to investing over $3 billion in Indiana operations and creating more than 10,000 new jobs in the coming years, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
Indiana has also held on to its long-standing reputation for Hoosier hospitality. This month, Pence announced the National FFA Convention will call Indianapolis home for the next nine years. This massive convention brings in 60,000 visitors and has a $36 million economic impact on the city each year.
From making an historic investment in education to expanding Indiana’s consumer-driven health insurance program known as HIP 2.0, Republican leaders are committed to putting Hoosiers first.
We all agree that while Indiana’s fiscal foundation remains strong, there is much more work to be done. Our party and our elected officials remain focused on improving Indiana’s business environment and making sure Hoosiers have best possible chance to succeed in today’s economy.
Indiana is on the right track and we strongly believe our state is well positioned for continued success.
Jeff Cardwell is the Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.