LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Job numbers released today show a steep drop in local unemployment.
It's been five years since the 2008 financial crisis. Stocks were a mess, savings began to vanish and jobs were hard to come by. The meltdown hit local companies hard, particularly Wabash National.
President and CEO Dick Giromini had his current job for only a year when the market crashed in late 2008.
"We saw our demand levels drop significantly and just continue to worsen into 2009," said Giromini.
Giromini took swift action to lead the company back to a profitable path.
Layoffs and downgrades in pay across the board held Wabash together through a tough time. On July 16, 2009 Wabash stock closed at just 51 cents a share, compared to nine dollars a year before. The company got a shot in the arm from private equity in August 2009 and was able to boost productivity in the years following.
"We actually doubled in volume from 2009 to 2010 and then doubled again in 2011," Giromini said.
This recovery story isn't unique to Wabash National. Slowly but surely, business has returned to Tippecanoe County, bringing along much needed jobs.
Today, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released a report showing Tippecanoe County's unemployment rate at 6.8 percent.
This is a significant drop from 8.5 percent a month ago and 11 percent in 2009 at the height of The Great Recession.
Department spokesman Joe Frank said Greater Lafayette's jobs resurrection mirrors much of what he sees around the state.
"Tippecanoe County and the surrounding counties are enjoying a lot of manufacturing job growth as well and it's just kind of a microcosm of our state," said Frank.
Greater Lafayette Commerce President and CEO Joe Seaman told that new private investment should continue to create new jobs.
"We've had almost $770 million in new capital investment year to date in Tippecanoe County, greater Lafayette Area," said Seaman. "That's the highest we've ever tracked."
Wabash National had $1.5 billion in revenue last year alone and now employs around 3,300 people in Lafayette.
This success allows Giromini to take pride in having the company's headquarters right here.
"It's a wonderful community, a very supportive community and it provides us an opportunity to truly make a difference."
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