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Experts explain pessimistic forecast for Indiana’s economy in 2016

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 5, 2015)-- Economic experts say there really is not much to look forward to in the statewide economy in 2016.

“Given all of the external factors in terms of weak international economy and slow growth in the U.S. economy, the Indianapolis area is looking at a plateau in 2016,” said James Smith of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

The Indiana University Kelley School of Business panel says their pessimistic economic forecast is based off of weakening international markets and slowed job growth. The unemployment rate in Indianapolis has fallen from more than 6 percent in January to 3.8 percent in September, well below the state average and the national average. However, that means the supply of available jobs is shrinking.

With the low unemployment rate is good news but that means there is not much room for new hiring,” said Smith.

Statewide, in 2015, Indiana is back at the same levels from before September 11, 2001. Experts say the state of Indiana will only add about 45,000 new workers in 2016, while the rate of unemployment should still drop.

The job growth is not expected to be as strong as even it has been in the last few years. We have weakening foreign markets, exports will be tight, car sales have been strong but we don’t expect any growth over 2015,” said Smith.

Last year, the state’s export growths were better than anyone else’s in the Midwest and auto sales were strong too. Now, those numbers will be tough to top, leading to the plateau.

“We over performed last year and did better than expected,” said Timothy Slaper, research director at the Indiana Business Research Center.

The weakening of the international markets could lead to cut backs here in central Indiana. This may cause a rise in prices, interest rates and layoffs.

“You would feel it at Home Depot or you would feel it at the various restaurants, wherever people spend their money,” said Slaper.