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Report: About 3,000 new jobs created in Northeast Indiana last year

Expansions in major sectors brought 3,007 jobs.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 2:05 pm

2012 showed much more job growth than job loss in major business sectors in northeast Indiana.

Each year since 2007, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has commissioned a “Business Dynamics Report” that summarizes the gains and losses in major industries in 10 northeast Indiana counties. More than 1,300 businesses are monitored for this report by the Community Research Institute at IPFW.

Last year, 10 new company announcements in the region brought 763 new jobs and $74 million in investment. Business expansions were even more important to the recovering economy of the area; 120 expansions brought 3,007 new jobs and $450 million in investment.

Those gains outpaced losses by a ratio of about 8-to-1.

“Of the more than 1,300 businesses monitored by CRI, only 10 closed in 2012. These closings involved a loss of 429 jobs. There were four known downsizings with 119 jobs lost,” the report noted.

“These numbers represent lows since the inception of the Business Dynamics report,” it said.

It's encouraging news, but the report emphasizes that it is not the definitive box score for 2012 economic news.

“This report is not intended to be an all-inclusive summary for every event in the 10-county region. The major economic engines of the NEI economy are tracked: industries such as manufacturing; logistics; insurance; and medical devices; as well as groups of interrelated industries such as food production, which includes not only food manufacturing, but processing, warehousing and transportation, and specialty manufacturing for this industry; and the defense industry, which includes software engineering and development, research, as well as manufacturing associated with this sector.”

The report also includes coverage of many of the region's largest employers, even if they do not fall within those fields. CRI also monitors many of the region's “major” employers, some of which fall into one of the above categories.

The largest job increases came from an expansion at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, which is adding 316 employees, and 300 jobs from a new business in Fort Wayne, Accelerated Tanks and Trailers.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership includes Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. The population of that area is about 682,000, and its work force numbers about 340,000.

Another important qualifier about this optimistic assessment: It does not include Navistar, where hundreds of jobs were eliminated in 2012. The company employed about 1,400 here in 2009. Now its work force in Allen County is about 30.

The report said, “the 2012 downsizings information does not include numbers for Navistar in Allen County as (the Community Research Institute) was unable to identify specific months or respective numbers of employment being downsized during 2012.”

Only three other new businesses or expansions brought more than 100 jobs each, according to the report: Wolfpack Chassis in Noble County, Impact CNC in Whitley County and Lippert Components in LaGrange.