Then & Now: An Economic Development Update

Posted by: Greg Lorch
Director of Business Growth
South Bend Region Economic Development on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 12:00:00 am

It has been three years since the conclusion of the capital campaign to support the economic development activity within the Chamber, branded South Bend Region Economic Development. Here is an update on what has occurred since the start of 2013.

Key metrics for economic performance include the unemployment rate, the number employed (jobs), capital investments, population and per capita income. Results for these metrics over the last three years are:

 St. Joseph County

Jan. 2013

Nov./Dec. 2015

Unemployment Rate 10% 4.7%
Employment 111,256 124,074
Annual Capital Investment ($million) $126M $480M
Population 266,850 267,618
Per Capita Income $38,454 $40,433 (Est. for 2014)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau, Commercial Construction Activity Report

Key takeaways from this data are: the unemployment rate has dropped to less than half of its original rate; there are 12, 818 more people employed; capital investment has increased more than threefold—driven predominantly by the University of Notre Dame; population is at its highest point, and per capita income increased to the equivalent of $19.44 per hour.

Over the three years, our economic development program has seen 146 projects for startups, attraction or expansion, experiencing wins with 31 project s. These wins account for 1,438 new jobs at a weighted average salary of $22.23 per hour. These projects will invest over $790 million and add $62 million to the economy via their annual payrolls. Of those added jobs, 562 occurred in project wins from last year, with weighted average salaries of $27.26 per hour.

In 2016, we anticipate that capital investments will continue at a high rate, including the $500 million investment being made by the St. Joseph Energy project and the expansion of several local businesses and commercial developments. In addition, activity related to quality of place investments associated with the Regional Cities and Smart Street programs will be occurring. With the completion of the South Bend Region Economic Development website, it will be used to gain better awareness for the region both nationally and internationally.