Economy

BULLS & BEARS: Healthy skepticism needed when considering an IPORestricted Content

April 25, 2005
Ken Skarbeck
It is the goal of many wide-eyed entrepreneurs to take a company public. While private businesses are usually closely held by a small number of shareholders, an IPO enables a company to expand its shareholder base. By listing its shares on a stock exchange, a company is exposed to a wide range of investors who are provided the opportunity to review its financial statements and buy and sell the company's shares. Initial public offerings serve as a key capital-raising mechanism...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Going behind the numbers to understand price indexesRestricted Content

April 25, 2005
Patrick Barkey
The joke about economists is that we talk about money but we don't have any. And when it comes to having power and wealth, the status of those who compile the economic statistics we all consume is usually several notches below even that of the lowly economist. Most are employed by government agencies, after all. And the last time I checked, I didn't see anyone from the Forbes 100 list on a public payroll. But the numbers these anonymous statisticians...
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State awaits Crane's fate: Indiana tech promoters hope feds will expand naval baseRestricted Content

April 25, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
In just a few weeks, Hoosiers will learn whether the Navy plans to multiply southwest Indiana's economic development prospects, or mothball its Crane base, the region's primary high-tech asset. The latter scenario would not only devastate the region; it would seriously set back statewide efforts to modernize Indiana's economy. "If Indiana were in a position where we were a recognized technology leader, the loss of that one asset might not loom as large," said Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Vice President...
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EYE ON THE PIE: What politicians don't know can hurt usRestricted Content

April 18, 2005
Morton Marcus
Last week in Jefferson City, I heard Missouri's governor outline his economic and budgetary concerns. It sounded very much like a speech I could have heard in Indiana. His speech went something like this: Medicare is about to eat up the state budget. We have to find ways to use school funds more effectively because our education system is not sufficient for the needs of our citizens. We have to protect taxpayers from the burdens of new taxes. We need...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Pondering the world from an economist's viewpointRestricted Content

April 18, 2005
Patrick Barkey
In case you've ever wondered what it is like to look at life through the eyes of an economist, here are some questions to ponder: Has anyone else noticed that public schools these days are in the transportation business, the sports entertainment business, the restaurant business, the health care business, not to mention the day care business? It's no wonder their jobs are so difficult. To those who decry the risk of diverting Social Security revenue towards personal accounts in...
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Mission to Mexico to promote business: City officials, corporate leaders to take part in tripRestricted Content

April 18, 2005
Katie Maurer
Most Hoosiers visiting Mexico spend their time on the beaches of Cancun, Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta. But this fall, an excursion of a different kind will take local business and civic leaders south of the border to explore new opportunities for commerce and trade with Mexico. The week-long mission, scheduled for early September, is the brainchild of Sergio Aguilera, Mexico's consul general for Indianapolis. He hopes that exposing Hoosiers to all facets of Mexican life-from government and the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Protecting property rights means thinking globally Effect on Indiana business Taking actionRestricted Content

April 18, 2005
Thomas Ladd
Last month, 10 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Bush administration to initiate trade disputes before the World Trade Organization and to identify nations that don't protect intellectual property rights under U.S. trade law. The Representa tives pointed to a number of countries-Brazil, China, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand-that have been identified in the "National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers" as having poor enforcement of trademarks and copyrights. While the lawmakers' concerns are valid, the expression...
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BULLS & BEARS: Where Weebles wobble, investors see opportunityRestricted Content

April 18, 2005
Dave Gilreath
Remember the toys back in the '70s called Weebles? They were little egg-shaped people weighted so they would always stand upright. The manufacturer's advertising slogan was, "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down." The stock market has wobbled like a Weeble for six years. For stocks, the first quarter ended with a thud with the Standard & Poor's 500 down about 3 percent and the NASDAQ down 8 percent. The price of oil went up more than 25 percent during...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revisiting the crystal ball reflects timid predictionsRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
Patrick Barkey
When economists look into the future, what do they see? Many of us reported our visions of the coming year late last fall in annual forecasting presentations. Our Ball State University forecast, like many others, was pretty optimistic about 2005. It foresaw reasonably strong growth for both the U.S. economy and Indiana. But as we start the second quarter, with four more months' worth of fresh data in hand, is there any reason to change that outlook? It depends on...
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Aging employees, parents face care-giving challenges: More Americans balance jobs, elder-care concerns Long-distance careRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
Della Pacheco
More than 14 million employees today face the challenge of balancing job duties with the responsibility of caring for an older relative, according to the San Francisco-based Family Caregivers Alliance. And the numbers are growing as America ages. Employers and employees are feeling the cost of elder-care work conflicts to the tune of more than $11 billion in lost productivity annually, according to a MetLife study. Many baby boomer care givers find themselves sandwiched between caring for their own children...
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TOM HARTON Commentary: Riding the rails from first to worstRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
When my grandparents took the interurban from Rushville to Indianapolis to see the 1920 Indianapolis 500, they probably didn't appreciate how lucky they were to live in a state that was a leader in public transportation. Indiana had one of the earliest and most extensive interurban systems in the country. The state's electric railway network converged at the Indianapolis Traction Terminal, thought to be the largest interurban station in the world. The massive building on West Market Street served 462...
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Ergo Office Furniture LLC: Workers sit, ergo offices need furniture Retailer deals primarily in used desks and chairsRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
Ed Callahan
Businesses sometimes need office furniture immediately. That's one of the reasons Ergo Office Furniture has thrived. Ergo, at 2525 N. Shadeland Ave., sells, rents or leases office furniture to its customers. Though the company does carry some new furniture, and can order whatever it doesn't have, co-owner Mark S. Kemper said 70 percent of Ergo's revenue is in used furniture. The advantage of selling used furniture is that it's normally right there in the inventory. Brand-new furniture, in many cases,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Enjoy growth while it lasts, because change is afootRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There is good news for the Indiana economy. Strong spending by businesses on capital goods in the national economy in 2004 translated into the best year for output and hiring we've seen in the state economy in more than five years. And it's showing up in tax revenue as well. On a year-over-year basis, Indiana's collections from income and sales taxes were up 8.3 percent in the last quarter of 2004, better than the national average and significantly better than...
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Incubator lures biotech upstart: Fish vaccine biz hoping to land on canalRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Hatching new businesses is getting to be routine for Indiana University. So it was easy for Richard Wagner to contemplate moving his biotech startup from Columbus, Ohio, into IU's 2-year-old business incubator on the Central Canal. "It's an excellent facility. Every time I go up, I'm more and more impressed with it," Wagner said. "They put a lot of thought into designing it to meet the needs of life science and biotechnology research." Wagner, who holds a doctorate in plant...
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ROSE Awards ceremonies honor hospitality workers: A dozen employees commended for top-level serviceRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Staff Report
Vickie English, night auditor, Courtyard by Marriott at the Capitol In her eighth year as night auditor at the Courtyard at the Capitol, English was honored for providing outstanding service, including driving to the airport to deliver an airline ticket a guest left at the hotel. Robert Diaz, chauffeur, Carey Indiana A 17-year employee with Carey Indiana, Diaz was praised for going out of his way to be helpful. When one one client requested food from a popular restaurant in...
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Planners brace for museum meeting: City to show its culture to influential gatheringRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Tracy Donhardt
The world's largest museum meeting convenes in Indianapolis next month, and organizers say the gathering could do more than showcase the city's ever-growing cultural cache. Hosting an estimated 5,000 museum professionals and patrons also will give cultural tourism efforts a boost and dump more than $4 million into the local economy. The stakes are so high that more than 500 volunteers have been rallied to keep activities running smoothly day and night during the May 1-5 event. Evening events are...
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Little jets get the test in Indiana: New aircraft could help small airports shave costsRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A top Indiana economist will study whether an emerging class of aircraft known as "very light jets" could fuel an economic boom, especially in the state's smaller, more isolated communities. Morton J. Marcus, director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, will gauge the potential impact of VLJs in six communities, including Mount Comfort Airport in Hancock County. Several aircraft makers next year plan to launch the diminutive jets, which can whisk up to six people as...
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State tourism effort set for new format: Lawmakers create separate department; supporters think changes could lead to less bureaucracy, more fundsRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Scott Olson
After years of languishing in the Department of Commerce, lawmakers passed legislation late last month creating a separate Department of Tourism and Community Development that will report to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman starting July 1. The commerce department already has been dissolved, effective Feb. 1, and the state's economic development programs have been handed to the new Indiana Economic Development Corp. Tourism supporters are hopeful that by removing a layer of bureaucracy, the department can capture more funding. "It was...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised job-growth figures provide hope for economyRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Patrick Barkey
It wasn't many months ago that Indiana's leaders faced an unpleasant question: Would the jobs being destroyed by the recession, technological change and global competition ever come back? Today, we know the answer is an emphatic yes. In fact, Indiana's employment growth over the last 12 months has been stronger than all but 15 other states. If that news had come out six months ago, in the harsh glare of the political campaign, you wouldn't be reading about it here...
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National lobbyist meets with gov: Small-business advocate says health care is still the toughest issue for ownersRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Scott Olson
The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's largest small-business advocacy group, representing 600,000 members in all 50 states. Its voice in Washington, D.C., is Dan Danner, an Ohio native and Purdue University graduate, who is the organization's lead lobbyist. During a recent visit to the NFIB's Indiana office, Danner sat down with IBJ to address issues critical to the state's smallbusiness owners. IBJ: As chief lobbyist for the NFIB, how do you get the organization's message to federal...
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The seeds of original thinking grow sales SALES:Restricted Content

March 28, 2005
Tim Roberts
OK, true confession time. My first attempt at a sales gig was selling flower seeds. That's right, seeds. The ones you would order from the back of a comic book. I was 9. The incentive was a "prize." Of course, you could select your own prize, and the prizes were the kind that would make a 9-year-old do anything because these were "must-have" prizes. My wild-eyed eyes were set on X-ray vision glasses. As I said, "must-have." I remember Mom's...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: In scandals' wake, firms endure financial wringer Process mapping Too high a costRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Greg Andrews
Last year was excruciating for executives at many of Indiana's public companies, but not for the usual reasons, like a slumping economy or sliding stock market. Instead, it was because they had to devote thousands of employee hours and millions of dollars to comply with a controversial new rule, Section 404 of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-accountability law. The rule requires companies to assess the internal accounting controls they have in place to ensure their financial reporting is accurate and reliable-and...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised economic data show pronounced growthRestricted Content

March 21, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Can government really create jobs? That's a question candidates in the throes of a political campaign, whose rhetoric promises endless prosperity, will sometimes put to economists like me. My answer has always been that there is a lot our leaders can do to destroy jobs, but very little they can do to create them, at least in the short run. But recent events have caused me to reconsider this. Our government, or more accurately, the statistical agencies we employ to...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Job growth, other factors portend stronger economyRestricted Content

March 14, 2005
Patrick Barkey
While it's not quite the job creation engine it was in the late 1990s, the newcentury U.S. economy is still one of the brightest stars on the global stage when it comes to growth. Last month's strong employment gains, on the heels of upward revisions to overall growth and productivity, should put to rest any fears that the national economic expansion will be foundering anytime soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payrolls at U.S. business establishments grew by...
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City should prepare for energy shortage:Restricted Content

March 14, 2005
Clarke Kahlo
Indianapolis city planners should begin planning for a declining energy future. "Peak oil" and natural gas (generally, the point at which worldwide production begins to decrease, and the resource subsequently depletes)-are well-documented and loom directly ahead. Yet local plans are silent on the subject. Long-term impacts on our economy and community fabric will be significant. Mobility and development patterns will be heavily affected. Politicians and the media need to inform the public and properly plan for this sobering eventuality. The...
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