Since the mid-1990s, per capita income (as a percentage of national per capita income) has been steadily dropping for residents of Northeastern Indiana. But new data released this week shows the downward trend may have finally turned the corner.
New numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show per capita income in Northeastern Indiana actually grew as a percentage of national per capita income in 2011 to 79.9%.
In recent years, that number has stabilized after a long decline that started nearly 20 years ago.
John Stafford, with the Community Research Institute at IPFW, says the immediate goal for economic leaders in Northeastern Indiana was to halt the personal income decline. The next challenge, he says, will be closing the nearly 20% gap between local earners and the rest of the country.
“That’s a long, long term effort,” Stafford said. “You’re not going to make that up in a couple of years. What is important is keeping our foot on the pedal and not letting up on the collective efforts to address this issue.”
Stafford says the decline started, in part, due to the erosion of the manufacturing economy across the Midwest.
But he says recent, organized efforts to attract and keep jobs in the region are part of the reason per capita income has stabilized.