Indiana business leader warns state faces long recovery

It could be a year or more before Indiana's economy fully recovers from the coronavirus-sparked recession that put one in six people out of work, the leader of the state's largest business group warned Thursday.

Posted: Jun 11, 2020 3:53 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It could be a year or more before Indiana's economy fully recovers from the coronavirus-sparked recession that put one in six people out of work, the leader of the state's largest business group warned Thursday.

Even as more of Indiana’s business restrictions are lifted, federal statistics show about 24,000 residents applied for unemployment benefits last week, for a 12th week of significant job losses since widespread closures started in March.

Indiana’s unemployment rate of about 3% before the pandemic hit is a reason for optimism about an economic rebound, said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

“It will be well into next year, but the underlying economy was strong and we should be poised for a strong and relatively, compared to past recessions, quick recovery,” Brinegar said. “It is, nevertheless, going to take a year or so and take us well into next year before we’re back to something resembling where we were prior to this pandemic.”

New jobless aid applications submitted last week in Indiana were roughly equal to the week before, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Thursday. That's about one-sixth of Indiana’s weekly peak of 139,000 new unemployment claims in late March when coronavirus-related business closures first hit hard.

National figures marked the 10th straight weekly decline in applications for jobless aid since mid-March.

Indiana began easing restrictions on businesses in early May. Movie theaters, bars and casinos will be allowed to reopen, with safety measures in place, under a statewide order from Gov. Eric Holcomb that takes effect Friday.

About 227,000 Indiana residents received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 30, down about 6,500, or 3%, from the previous week, according to the federal jobs report.

Indiana had the country’s fifth-highest unemployment rate for April at 16.9%, topping the national rate of 14.7%.

The state chamber raised concerns in a report released Thursday about Indiana trailing neighboring states in some areas such as post-high school education and health measures, including smoking and obesity rates.

Brinegar said those factors could slow down Indiana’s recovery as it will face competition from other states.

Indiana’s private sector employment during April fell by 380,500 workers from March, the state Department of Workforce Development said. The hardest-hit sectors were leisure and hospitality, with 116,000 job losses, and manufacturing, which lost about 78,000 jobs.

Brinegar said he expected tourism- and convention-related businesses will face the toughest recoveries.

“It will depend on how comfortable and how safe people feel it is to travel, to go to a convention, to stay in a hotel, to go to a sporting event,” he said.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
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