Economy

Giving lifted by disasters: Donors generous to victims of catastrophies but didn't forget usual causes, IU study findsRestricted Content

June 19, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
All told, individuals, corporations and foundations gave $260.3 billion to charity in 2005, 2.7 percent more than the year before even after adjusting for inflation, according to data compiled by researchers at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy for the annual "Giving USA" report. The report, set to be released June 19 by the Illinois-based Giving USA Foundation, answers a question that has been lingering for more than a year: Would the nation's outpouring of support for victims of an Asian...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Amid stock market's slide, a high-flier gets groundedRestricted Content

June 19, 2006
Greg Andrews
In late April, Brightpoint Inc. investors had every reason to feel giddy. Shares of the wireless phone wholesaler were up 85 percent for the year, after advancing 113 percent in 2005. Today, those heady days seem like a distant memory. Since reaching a high of $28.50 April 27, Brightpoint's shares have lost 50 percent of their value, lopping more than $700 million off the company's market value. "Clearly, wireless is out of favor on Wall Street and has been for...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: We want to count jobs, but what's the best way?Restricted Content

June 19, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Americans like to keep score on things. And in the realm of economics, there are plenty of things to keep score on. But the economy is a huge, often unwieldy beast, and the data we use to track it are often quite a bit fuzzier than the rows of hardlooking numbers in the graphs and statistical reports we digest would make it seem. In fact, as the old joke goes, we economists like to present growth rates out to two...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Motor-vehicle jobs: a path to the future?Restricted Content

June 12, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Would landing a new Honda plant be a plus for the Indiana economy? You bet it would. In fact, it's hard to think of any similar-size investment that holds the same immediate potential for supporting additional jobs beyond those inside the plant walls. The project scores well on just about every objective measure you can come up with to assess its attractiveness. It draws on skills and occupations Indiana already has. Its activities hold great promise for new business for...
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Regional partnerships called key to making it: Purdue urges state manufacturers to join supply chainRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Anthony Schoettle
Growing global competition is bringing local manufacturers together. And the definition of local is changing from around the corner to within 500 miles. Officials from Purdue University have conducted a series of manufacturing summits encouraging Indiana plants to tear down their separatist walls and become an integrated part of regional supply chains. "Supplier-based manufacturing is based on long-term relationships in a 500-mile radius, so we need to think about Indiana manufacturing regionally," said John Sullivan, director of Purdue's Center for...
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Geographic restrictions could backfire for PERF: $105 million fund carries lots of potential, risksRestricted Content

June 12, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
By restricting the new $105 million Indiana Investment Fund I to deals within state lines, Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to simultaneously spur economic development and earn a spectacular return for Indiana's retired public employees. But venture-capital experts warn it's nearly impossible to have it both ways. "You need to be very, very clear what your objectives are when you invest [pension] money. Is it for economic development or to help the pensioners earn better pensions?" said John Taylor, vice president...
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Proposed resource center targets science, tech, math: BioCrossroads wants to help build strong foundation Pulling things togetherRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Tracy Donhardt
Only 64 percent of Indiana's fifthgraders passed the latest ISTEP+ test in science. A little better-76 percent-passed the math component. Unfortunately, as children advance in grades, their ISTEP+ math scores worsen. By eighth grade, only 64 percent passed the math portion of the test. Yet, economic development officials in Indiana-and much of the country-want young students to choose to study in college areas of advanced manufacturing, life sciences, informatics, agribusiness and an array of disciplines that require a strong foundation...
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NOTIONS: Fighting mountains, oceans with human connectionsRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Bruce Hetrick
During the 1992 presidential campaign, H. Ross Perot used the phrase "that giant sucking sound" to describe what he feared would be a rush of American jobs into Mexico should the U.S. approve the North American Free Trade Agreement. In Indiana's 2006 economy, "that giant sucking sound" describes the rush of Indiana talent across the state line to anywhere but here. In a phenomenon known as the "brain drain," Indiana exports more young talent than it imports. But suppose we...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Want a larger slice? Get a bigger pieRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Morton Marcus
How much should an executive be paid? More or less than a professional athlete? How much medical care is a person entitled to receive? Does that depend on his or her age or the genetic code that she or he carries? We love to agonize over these questions. To the pure of spirit, all people are worth the same. To the pure of thought, all are worth the value they contribute to satisfy the wants of others. Since few of...
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DANIELS' DEAL CLOSERS: IEDC generating jobs, but economy shares part of creditRestricted Content

June 5, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
It would have been big. Just last month, a team of officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and The Indy Partnership, its local equivalent, were furiously negotiating with South Carolinabased fire-engine maker American LaFrance. Intrigued by a mix of economic incentives and Indiana's central location, American LaFrance considered moving its operations to Marion County. In formal negotiations, the company dangled promises of 653 jobs and a capital investment of $18.5 million. State records don't reveal what incentives Indiana offered...
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VIEWPOINT: To be a logistics leader, state needs a planRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Bob Palmer
Indiana is poised to become the country's logistics center. Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on that topic. Now is the time for business, government and education to come together and make it happen. SupplyNet 2006-the recent statewide conference that brought together not only transportation, distribution and logistics industries, but also representatives from manufacturing, retail, information technology, government and academia-detailed the broader picture of supplychain management. As a cutting-edge business strategy, supply-chain management integrates internal and external logistics...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Wanted: a broader view on public-policy issuesRestricted Content

May 29, 2006
Patrick Barkey
There's nothing wrong with self-interest in politics. We elect representatives to look out for our interests, after all. So when legislation and policies affect things that matter to us-especially if it's a matter of financial interest-many of us squawk, scream or otherwise throw a fit. And we hope to get noticed. But in policy debates in Indiana in recent years, we've been getting lazy. It's easy enough to defend your interests, of course, but it's much harder to convince those...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Beware cost increases you can't seeRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Morton Marcus
There I was at the grocery store engaged in economic research. I found a plasticwrapped pack of 24 half-liter bottles of "spring water" from a famous soft drink company was $4.99, or $1.57 per gallon. The store brand for "spring water," packaged in the same fashion, was $3.88, or $1.22 per gallon. A 24-pack of regular or diet 12-ounce soft drinks from the same famous company was selling for $6.49, or $2.97 per gallon. That's just about the price of...
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Tower erector rises from ruin: Once bankrupt, water tank firm grows into industry giant, acquires competitorRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Anthony Schoettle
From the ashes of bankruptcy in 1986, an Avon-based firm has ascended to the top of an industry that might seem old-fashioned: building and maintaining water towers. But the owners of Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors Inc. say new demand for their product, driven by factors as diverse as aesthetics and alternative fuels, promises to boost the firm's $80 million in annual sales as Phoenix grows from within and through acquisitions. Phoenix this month acquired Sebree, Ky.-based Pittsburgh Tank and Tower...
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Area construction employment surging: Workers stay busy as industry experiences 15 consecutive months of job growthRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Scott Olson
Building tradesmen in central Indiana don't need a mind-numbing jobs report to tell them construction workers are in high demand. They need not look any further than their apprentice programs and union halls to gauge the industry's health. The way the barometer works is simple: Full apprentice classes mean contractors are hiring and empty union halls mean they're working. "When the benches are empty, that's a good thing," said Mike Kerr, a principal at locally based contractor F.A. Wilhelm Construction...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Good transportation paves the way for strong economyRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
Patrick Barkey
"Like it or not," noted author Richard Florida opined as he looked out over a crowd that recently gathered in Indianapolis to discuss economic development issues in central Indiana, "you are all part of the greater Chicago region." That might come as news to you who pay taxes, follow sports, or subscribe to a newspaper. But the point is well made. In the larger scheme of things-the so-called Shanghai perspective one would take in looking at our economy from the...
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VIEWPOINT: Illiteracy is a hot economic issueRestricted Content

May 22, 2006
John Mutz
"Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?" So goes the refrain from the musical "1776," when George Washington communicates his frustration with how badly the Revolutionary War is going while the Continental Congress continues to debate the pros and cons of declaring independence from the British crown. Does anybody in Indiana see what I see? I see an economy, slowly recovering, but not booming like the rest of the country. I see state tax collections...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Improving state's economy requires a team approachRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Patrick Barkey
More than 50 years ago, the famous economist Joseph Schumpeter told a simple story that perfectly captured the essence of market capitalism. It's a turn-of-the-century tale of a railroad being built in a part of the country where none had existed. The new investment rapidly upsets the order of everything-once ideally situated towns are left high and dry, while others move up in stature as they exploit newfound advantages. It's messy and it's painful, but the result is for the...
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Daniels seeks to copy key-clusters strategy: Industry initiatives would mimic BioCrossroads planRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, BioCrossroads has been vindicated. Gov. Mitch Daniels hopes to see a series of similar industry initiatives sprout around key clusters in Indiana's economy. He envisions parallel initiatives for manufacturing, transportation and logistics and a series of other crucial business sectors. "We'd love some company," said BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson. As outlined in Daniels' "Accelerating Growth" economic development plan released last month, the initiatives would be based on proven Indiana strengths and identifiable...
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Smaller banks seeking relief: Legislation takes on costly regulatory costsRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
Scott Olson
German American Bancorp in Jasper has spent more than $1 million the past two years complying with the stringent accounting provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The cost alone is reason enough for the community bank's president and CEO, Mark Schroeder, to support a measure exempting smaller public companies such as his from Section 404 of the act. He even traveled to Washington, D.C., May 3 to testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. "Ultimately, this...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Now we have a plan-let's use itRestricted Content

May 15, 2006
For years, Indiana politicians-at least the smart ones-have talked about the importance of economic growth and development, and behind the scenes business leaders have replied, "Duh. How about coming up with some kind of plan?" This was always a hot button for Dave Goodrich, retired real estate executive and former head of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. In his days at CICP, Goodrich would bend the ear of anyone willing to listen about the need for a plan. Well, how does...
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Special events pay off: Growth seen in career opportunities, event numbersRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
Shari Held / Special to IBJ
Special events aren't just fun and games-they're big business, generating careers and economic activity that are anything but frivolous. Special event spending in Indianapolis is nearly $3 billion a year, according to Bob Shultz, public relations director for the Indiana Convention & Visitors Association. Annual spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion, according to research conducted by the Chicago-based International Special Events Society. In Money Magazine's annual "Best Jobs in America" survey, meeting and convention planners were ranked in...
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BRIAN WILLIAMS Commentary: Should we invest in ethanol or education?Restricted Content

May 8, 2006
During times of high gasoline prices, the investment made by the Daniels administration in six ethanol plants would seem prudent. The touted benefits of ethanol plants are that they create jobs in rural communities, support Indiana corn growers, improve air quality, and lower dependence on foreign oil. As an Indianapolis resident with little exposure to our farm economy, my first question was, "How do you make ethanol?" Ethanol is made by fermenting and distilling simple sugars like those found in...
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TAWN PARENT Commentary: Scattered images from abroadRestricted Content

May 8, 2006
We landed in the Marble City, nearly blinded by the light and the white and the reflection of it all. I think of Athens as the Marble City because of its many ruins, but also because of all the other marble buildings and the slippery marble sidewalks and, in our apartment, the marble walls and floors and marble countertops that make so much noise when you set your cup down. We felt compelled to bring some marble home with us....
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New funds target life sciences: MidPoint concentrates on agricultural technology; Heron aims at broader marketRestricted Content

May 1, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Two new locally based venture capital funds believe Indiana is ripe with opportunity for biotech deals. With $20 million under management, Heron Capital LLC is broadly focused on the whole Hoosier life sciences market. Attempting to raise $30 million, the Mid-Point Food & Ag Fund LP has a narrower concentration: high-technology related to farming and nutrition. "We're very excited about our prospects," said Heron Managing Director Greg Maurer. "We have a number of deals in the hopper, some of which...
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