Local Economy Good but not as Strong as in 2018

Dubois County (NNDC):

The 2019 economy will be down a bit from 2018, but still good, according to a forecast from three Indiana University professors.

The Center for Economic Model Research at Indiana University presented their predictions for the national and state economies Thursday at the Rotary Club of Jasper’s 14th annual Indiana University Kelley School of Business Economic Forecast Luncheon. Dubois Strong President Ed Cole presented on the local economy.

At the local level there’s a lot going on. Unlike a lot of rural Indiana counties, Dubois County has been growing. In the last five years, the county’s population has increased by 500 people. The county also has low unemployment about 2.4 percent and has 4,000 more workers commute into the county than commuting out.

Although there are still jobs to fill. That has led local companies to increase workforce attraction, with Dubois Strong as key component. Dubois Strong has been running a Facebook advertising, targeting surrounding areas with higher unemployment and encouraging people to check out what Dubois County has to offer. In 2018, that campaign brought 74,000 new page views to the Dubois Strong website, with 1,025 of those moving on to websites for area employers.

Recently, Dubois Strong won the Ready Communities Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction planning grant for $50,000. The next steps, Director Cole said, are hiring a consultant to help identify countywide needs and come up with a plan to meet those needs. Then, Dubois Strong will apply for the next stage of the grant, which could yield up to $250,000.

Of course, attracting new workforce members means an increased need for housing.  In 2015, Dubois Strong conducted a housing study that showed the county needed 400 to 675 new housing units. In the five years since, 225 units have been added with 520 more in progress.

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