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Report: Indiana has seventh-best economic outlook

By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – For the 10th consecutive year, Indiana earned high marks among states ranked on their economic conditions.

The American Legislative Exchange Council released its latest edition of Rich States, Poor States, which analyzes a state’s economic competitiveness and outlook. The report, written by noted economist Dr. Arthur Laffer, FreedomWorks Economist Stephen Moore and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams, found the Hoosier State to have the nation’s seventh-best economic outlook.

“Rich States, Poor States tells a clear story: states with low taxes attract more business investment and more workers. People move to where they have economic opportunities,” said Laffer, who served as a key economic advisor to the Reagan Administration.

According to the data in the report, Indiana had net migration losses from 2012 to 2017. However, each year since, from 2018 to 2021, the state has attracted more residents than it has lost.

In 2021, Indiana had a net migration of more than 16,000 people. Over the three years prior to then, it attracted nearly 9,800.

It’s the 10th straight year Indiana has been ranked in the report’s top 10 for its economic outlook.

The Holcomb Administration has worked to strengthen the state’s economic climate, and recent results show that’s paying off. On Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb was in Crawfordsville to celebrate the groundbreaking on a $290 million expansion of Nucor’s sheet mill operations.

By the end of next year, the expansion is expected to create 80 new jobs in the town 40 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Last year, Indiana attracted $22.2 billion in new investments from businesses either expanding existing operations or building new facilities. It marked the sixth straight year the state set a record for business investement.

The factors helping Indiana remain competitive include it being a Right-to-Work state and maintaining the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. It’s also business-friendly regarding workers’ compensation costs, as the $.86 rate per $100 is the sixth-lowest in the U.S.

Indiana fared far better than its neighboring states in the economic outlook rankings.

Michigan came in 16th, and Ohio was ranked 20th in the report. Kentucky finished 27th, while Illinois placed 46th.

The report determined Utah had the best economic outlook. New York, meanwhile, was ranked last.

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