Economy

Special Report: MURKY MISSION: Vague directive dilutes 21st Century Fund's high-tech impactRestricted Content

February 7, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
When directors of Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund convened in May 2003, they'd already doled out $70 million in state grants over three years to fund h i g h - t e c h innovation a n d w e r e preparing to u n l e a s h another $60 million. But you wouldn't know it after reading minutes from that meeting. They show a rollicking debate broke out over the 21st Century's Fund's...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: GDP figures demonstrate Fed's rate hikes hit markRestricted Content

February 7, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Here's something to try the next time you find yourself mingling with your friends at a party. Strike up a conversation about GDP. You know, GDP. Gross Domestic Product? It's the total output of everything we produce in the economy. Oh, well, never mind. But even if it's generally true that talk of GDP's ups and downs elicits blank stares, some of us devour the news. That's because the speed-up and slowdown of overall economic growth can affect the policies...
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BULLS & BEARS: Despite decade's bad start, market points to upswingRestricted Content

February 7, 2005
Dave Gilreath
The four most dangerous words an investor can mutter are, "It's different this time." You heard the phrase a lot in the late 1990s and it was usually surrounded by words like "new economy" and "paradigm shift." We should all know by now that it's never really different. Boom and bust trajectories pretty much look the same whether they are tulip bulb prices, radio stocks, Internet stocks or Britney Spears' record sales. Using the premise that same-old, sameold will rule,...
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Legal limelight:Restricted Content

January 31, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Counsel from an Indianapolis law firm will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in April that an annual truck fee charged by the state of Michigan should be struck down. If the high court agrees, trucking firms in Indiana and around the nation could see more than $70 million in fees paid since 1995 refunded. Trucking firms have a lot riding on Scopelitis Garvin Light & Hanson. A ruling upholding the Michigan fee could embolden other states to adopt similar...
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Employers target obesity through wellness programs: Overweight workers contribute to higher health costsRestricted Content

January 31, 2005
Della Pacheco
Companies enjoy seeing an increase in their bottom line as a reflection of positive growth. They don't, however, like to see growth in employee "bottoms," as evidenced by a national obesity epidemic that is becoming a public health crisis and is cutting into corporate profits through increased health care costs. A study by the not-for-profit, nonpartisan Trust for America's Health reported that nearly 119 million American adults-65 percent-are overweight or obese. The group warns that obesity may soon overtake tobacco...
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VIEWPOINT: Lack of basic skills hurts competitivenessRestricted Content

January 31, 2005
Kevin Brinegar / Special to IBJ
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? There is a businesseducation slant to the age-old argument. The business community contends that the state's colleges and universities are not producing enough graduates to meet their needs. Highereducation advocates, on the other hand, say the qualified graduates are in place, but a lack of jobs within Indiana sends them packing to other states. We'll leave that argument for another day. There is another major workplacepreparedness issue, however, that is rightfully drawing...
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Area deals reach new pinnacle: Anthem's $22.7 billion purchase of Wellpoint heads busy year for acquisitionsRestricted Content

January 24, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
In 2004, Indianapolis had plenty of both, crushing all previous local merger-andacquisition records. IBJ tracks business deals larger than $5 million involving area companies in which financial terms are available. Last year, there were 56 of them, worth a grand total of $31 billion. Anthem Inc.'s massive $22.7 billion acquisition of Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. led the pack. Before 2004, $17 billion was the most M&A activity Indianapolis had ever seen in a single year. All by itself, Anthem's deal...
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Terminal move might spur land rush: Midfield project to free choice real estateRestricted Content

January 24, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Overshadowed by the $974 million midfield terminal project is a potential economic development bonanza: the reuse of the existing terminal and surrounding land at Indianapolis International Airport. More than 120 acres along Interstate 465 that today hold parked cars might someday house hotels, shipping operations or even a light-rail station after the midfield terminal opens in about three years. Another 54 acres representing the terminal and its immediate surroundings will be available for aviation uses from air freight to corporate...
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Indiana IPOs break out of recent slump: Kite Realty, Republic Airways, Adesa among 5 state firms to test public watersRestricted Content

January 24, 2005
Scott Olson
Hoosier-based companies registered five initial public offerings last year, a robust number considering not a single Indiana business went public in 2003. The uptick could signal the state's economy, as well as the nation's, is on the mend. Nationally, 233 companies raised $43 billion collectively to go public on the major U.S. stock exchanges in 2004, a 195-percent increase in the number of IPOs over 2003. And the performance could be even stronger this year, said Richard Peterson, a market...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Understanding factors in public-sector job growthRestricted Content

January 24, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There is nothing like a war and a recession to increase the size of government payrolls. Yet the hiring behavior of the public sector in the last four years has been unusual, when compared with previous recessions. The data tell us much of the growth in recent years has come from state and local governments. But they do not tell us why. There has been much stronger job growth in the public sector than in the private sector in the...
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NOTIONS:Restricted Content

January 24, 2005
Bruce Hetrick
The other night, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton appeared on my TV. They said the tsunami had been devastating. They said people need help. They asked me to send money. "No one can change what happened," Bush said. "But we can all Slow tsunami wreaks havoc in Indiana change what happens next," Clinton said. I went to lunch with my editor. After the waiter announced the specials, he pointed to a tent card on the table. It...
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TOM HARTON Commentary: City's improvement doesn't sink inRestricted Content

January 17, 2005
Dr. Pierre Tran, a former neuroscience researcher at Eli Lilly and Co., was lured from Indianapolis to a suburb of San Francisco recently by a small biotech firm and its ability to develop new drugs more quickly than pharmaceutical giants like Lilly. The region's diversity and "food culture" also played a role, Tran told the San Francisco Business Times in a story about where the Bay Area finds all the brainpower it needs to fuel its tech culture. Tran went...
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VIEWPOINT: We're trying to save the wrong brainsRestricted Content

January 17, 2005
Bruce R.
I always wonder what people are talking about when they lament Indiana's "brain drain." Statistics usually follow, detailing the college graduates taking jobs in other states. It is perhaps a contrarian's viewpoint, but we should, in fact, encourage these young people to go seek their fortunes. The fact that they are leaving is a symptom, not the problem. Our problem is there are not enough Hoosiers who can create the jobs that could employ our young graduates. We do have...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Slow, steady job growth certainly beats alternativeRestricted Content

January 17, 2005
Patrick Barkey
It's good to have job growth in the U.S. economy once again, even if the monthly gains in employment reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics occasionally fall short of some analysts' expectations. After a long spell of minuscule job growth in the wake of a painful recession, we've grown used to disappointing announcements from the federal statistical agency responsible for tracking the labor market. But the recent report on the employment situation in December caps a year-long streak of...
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EYE ON THE PIE: State's economy holds surprisesRestricted Content

January 17, 2005
Morton Marcus
Last week in this space, legislators were challenged to learn something about our state. This week, we will provide some data so our busy representatives do not have to do the work themselves. All our data are derived from the excellent States-in-Profile section of STATS Indiana, maintained by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, a service supported by the Indiana Department of Commerce. The Indiana economy is the 15th-largest in the nation. Our gross...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Conseco now seeks assets from Hilbert's HaverstickRestricted Content

January 10, 2005
Greg Andrews
Attorneys for Conseco Inc. have a new target in their legal assault a g a i n s t f o r m e r C E O S t e p h e n Hilbert. It's Haverstick Consulting Inc., the Carmelbased company Hilbert now leads. In court papers filed last week in Hamilton County, Conseco attorneys charge that Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue, transferred millions of dollars into Haverstick in recent years but did not receive stock of equal...
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Trucking firm to roll out own software product: Hoosier Tradewinds targets driver shortageRestricted Content

January 10, 2005
Chris O\'malley
Carmel trucking line Hoosier Tradewinds Inc. plans to deliver an unusual product-its own software company. Tradewinds Technologies will offer an intranet portal product trucking firms can use to track everything from delivery status to driver revenue. The company will break ground by the end of next month on an 8,000-squarefoot facility at U.S. 31 and 236th Street. It also will house new corporate offices for Hoosier Tradewinds. The TIRES portal, short for Tradewinds Information Resource, will be marketed partly as...
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GERALD BEPKO Commentary: State should help insurance industry growRestricted Content

January 10, 2005
GERALD BEPKO Commentary State should help insurance industry grow Everyone seems to agree that state governments must facilitate job growth and wealth creation. As pioneers in publicprivate partnerships, Indiana's leaders have envisioned a future for Indiana that includes many partnership economi c - d eve l o p m e n t strategies. One reflection of this vision is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership-led focus on key sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. The priority associated with...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Consumer confidence is tricky economic indicatorRestricted Content

January 10, 2005
Patrick Barkey
We've see it on television almost every day, it seems. Within seconds of a dramatic event-winning a race, scoring a touchdown, or finding a lost child-the central figure is asked by an eager reporter, "How do you feel?" As an economist, I am generally squirming in my chair at this point. Not because economists have no feelings-we actually do even if we tend to express them using graphs and equations. Rather, it is because we believe the best way to...
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BULLS & BEARS: Looking long-term is key to tasting market's fruitsRestricted Content

January 10, 2005
Dave Gilreath
If you follow the stock market and are like most people, you can't help but be sucked in to the short-term mentality vortex. The financial channels and newspapers all focus on short-term, smallpicture events. You can't fault them, though, since it's their job. The big mistake many folks make is using too much of the short-term, smallpicture information to make long-term, big-picture decisions. Your mom warned you against making "snap decisions" or "rushing to judgment." Today, largely due to the...
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Code sharing may help ATA: But analysts say Southwest Airlines unlikely to favor chairman's international destinationsRestricted Content

January 3, 2005
Chris O\'malley
During ATA Holdings Corp.'s annual meeting in 2003, George Mikelsons told shareholders low-fare carriers must strike up alliances to weather the industry storm. He proposed code sharing that would allow passengers buying a ticket on ATA or a partner airline to fly on both and connect to potentially hundreds more destinations. Airlines would share the revenue. "If we don't act to regroup ourselves," ATA's chairman warned at the time, "we're going to be the Jonahs of aviation, swallowed by the...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Let's explore options to finance stadiumRestricted Content

January 3, 2005
Morton Marcus
Phinneas Phogghorn, Indiana's third U.S. senator, was home for the holidays and in fine voice at the Dixie Donut Shoppe. "Rubbish," the jewel of Jeffersonville intoned to his assembled admirers. "Unadulterated rubbish is all I can say about the view held by too many Hoosiers that a stadium for the Indianapolis Colts is not for the benefit of all the people of Indiana. The Colts are more than a mere symbolic representation of the state in the minds of football...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Prices recover in 2004; expect same in 2005Restricted Content

January 3, 2005
Patrick Barkey
A few weeks of big price changes, particularly on the up side, and the armchair economists seem to really come out of the woodwork. Oil prices peaked in October at levels 40-percent higher than in July, and so did rumblings about conspiracies, windfall profits and pricegouging. To hear some lunchroom conversations, as well as the saber-rattling of some attorneys general around the country, the only thing that keeps businesses of all kinds from fleecing the American public with unconscionable prices...
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Growing convention business creates tough decisions: Mayor outlines possible solution for expanding center and adding stadium, but funding battle looms aheadRestricted Content

January 3, 2005
Andrea Muirragui
Consider Indianapolis a victim of its own success. The city's efforts to make a name for itself as a convention destination have worked-almost too well. The Indiana Convention Center is at capacity with 40 major events a year, and two of its biggest customers are moving to roomier digs. What began as a "what if" discussion about adding space to accommodate more business has turned into a "must do" conversation about keeping what's already here. "That's what really drove it...
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