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Indiana hoping to continue job growth momentum in 2013

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State officials are hoping for more job growth in 2013 after comparatively impressive numbers in 2012.

Indiana ranked second out of all 50 states for manufacturing job growth in 2012, with more than 21,800 new manufacturing jobs. Since mid-2009, the state ranks fourth in private sector job growth, and first in raw construction jobs, adding some 7,100 jobs.

“The growth is going in the right direction, and it’s pretty steady,” said Joe Frank, communications director for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Still, for out-of-work Hoosiers, the numbers don’t mean much.

“It’s picking up slowly, but surely, but you can’t tell,” said Brittany Cobb, who has been out of work for several months.

“It’s hard,” said Marlo Hall. “I’m out here looking for jobs every day.”

“Things aren’t getting any cheaper, which makes it harder,” Cobb said. “I’ve got kids to take care of, so it’s very hard.”

“The best thing we can tell folks like that is, employers are hiring,” said Frank. “We are seeing job numbers increase.”

While the state-by-state December numbers won’t be out for another two weeks, there is already some promise that 2013 will bring more jobs to the Hoosier State.

Governor Daniels recently announced more than 2,500 new jobs, while Chrysler is adding more jobs in Tipton.

“The governor’s made this a great place to relocate business, and to grow your business,” Frank said.

But how many of those jobs actually turn out? Some lawmakers say it’s hard to know for sure.

“We just want to make sure that those jobs are actually being created,” said new state representative Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis.

Too many of them don’t, according to some state legislators who are introducing a bill to bring more accountability to the economic development process.

“This has been something I know Democrats have been asking for the last few years,” said Moed, who is supporting the legislation authored by Republican State Sen. Mike Delph.

“There is bi-partisan agreement that transparency matters,” said State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, one of the bill’s co-authors.

“And there’s nothing Republican or Democrat about that, it’s just good government,” Banks said.

“Things are getting better, certainly getting better,” said Moed. “The big problem is that Indiana’s per capita income what people are actually earning is continuing to go down.”

And that’s a problem that out-of-work Hoosiers like Cobb also find frustrating.

“Actually it seems like it’s getting worse year-by-year and it’s harder and harder,” she said. “All you can do is try.”