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Marcus: "It's the money, not the jobs, stupid"

Morton J. Marcus dedicates his weekly column to an honest assessment of the Indiana economy, and the results aren't exactly encouraging. Behind their rose-colored glasses, the Governor and his re-election campaign have made a point of touting how super-duper wonderful everything is going with economic development in the state, and if you took them at their word, it certainly does appear that things are looking up.

But the numbers aren't there, and Marcus doesn't pull any punches:

The average worker in Indiana in 2007 made about $51,900.  While that's a heap of bucks, it is about 15% below the national average of $60,800.  Worse yet, we are on a path that is moving up only gradually compared to the steeper slope for the nation.  Earnings per employed person in the U.S. grew by an annual average of 3.8% over the past three years while in Indiana that increase was only 2.7%.

When the personal income numbers came out last week, showing another poor performance by Indiana, some, seeking any straw, said, "It's because our population isn't grow as fast as the nation, so naturally our total personal income would be slower than the national growth rate as well."

Yes, population in Indiana is growing less rapidly than in the nation (0.67% per year vs. 0.95%, 2004 to 2007), but it is our slow rate of growth in personal income (4.6% vs. 6.2%) that is of more concern.  Put differently, in 2004, Indiana had 2.12% of the nation's population with 1.92% of the personal income.  In just three years we slipped to 2.10% of the population (not much of a drop) but only 1.83% of the personal income.

He also takes a look at 24 sectors of the economy, and how Indiana stacks up with the rest of the nation in terms of income growth.

The verdict?

While we weren't exactly doing stellar in the sixteen years preceding Mitch Daniels -- we were ahead of the national average in 9 out of 24 areas -- we have since fallen behind in four of these, with the state on the verge of lagging behind even more in the coming years.

If you're Mitch Daniels, this is what should keep you up at night, and if you're an Indiana resident, particularly of my generation, this should scare you even more. We need leadership who can bring us not just jobs, but good jobs. And after nearly a full term in office, Mitch Daniels hasn't shown himself capable of doing that.

Posted by: Thomas


How does this stack up when you include the lower cost of living here as compared to other areas of the country?

Those darn facts again! Quit confusing me with them!

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