Recession ships more Indiana jobs to other countries

Associated Press
May 2, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Burial casket jobs in Richmond and computer assembly services in Carmel have shifted to Mexico. Auto stamping work once done in Howe has moved to Canada and India. Client performance analysis done in South Bend is now being handled in China.

The number of Indiana plants, warehouses and offices sending jobs abroad since the recession began in December 2007 has more than doubled that of past economic downturns, U.S. Department of Labor reports show.

The shifts are largely due to lower wages in foreign countries such as Mexico, where workers earn 10 percent of what their U.S. counterparts make.

"It's hitting us very hard," said Mayor William Graham of Scottsburg, where four plants have closed for trade-related reasons. "It's impossible to be competitive with Mexico or China because of their labor costs."

During the 1982 recession, workers at 75 Indiana companies were certified as dislocated by foreign trade from January 1980 to December 1983, Labor Department reports show. This time, 163 plants, warehouses and offices are involved.

The 163 cases cited by the Labor Department could account for an estimated 50,000 job losses — about one of every six unemployed people in the state.

Michael Hicks, director of Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research, said the Internet and technology make it easier for companies to outsource operations to other locales than in the past.

In some cases, the imports could be a cost-control measure to weather the hard times. But many industrial workers say they'll be surprised if the jobs come back to the U.S.

"The first few times you hear a company is moving outside the U.S., it kind of shocks you. Then you get numb to it," said Larry Neer, a father of six displaced from a $12.85-per-hour logistics job last year when JDS Uniphase moved electronics assembly to Guadalajara, Mexico, from Indianapolis. "It just seems like that's the common thing to do now."

The shifting jobs have put more workers in need of job retraining.

About 7,000 workers in Indiana were certified last year for retraining, and federal officials allocated $7 million for aid.

The aid pays tuition for 104 weeks, extends unemployment compensation and provides stipends in some cases for job searches and relocations. But no jobs are guaranteed for retrained graduates, many of whom lost jobs in the auto industry.

Many of those retraining for new jobs will make significantly less than they did in their factory jobs.

Anna Rains of Lynn lost her $15.85-per-hour job when Richmond burial casket maker Milso shifted work to Mexico. She took courses in business computer skills under the trade assistance program but still hasn't found full-time work.

She's currently cleaning houses in Richmond.

Graham, the Scottsburg mayor, says his community lost nearly 800 jobs, nearly a third of the southern Indiana county's industrial base.

"The change has been so rapid and drastic; yesterday's world is just gone," said Graham. "The rapidness is just an absolute shock.

The county's unemployment rate is 12.8 percent, but Graham says the full impact of the plant closings still hasn't been felt.

"Many of these people who lost their jobs are in training and draw unemployment. Once this runs out, we're going to be in a real crisis if we don't see some new jobs," he said.

Nelson Spaulding, director of the Scott County Clearinghouse food bank, said more people are seeking help than ever before.

He said the jobless rate approached 25 percent during the 1982 recession, but then jobs returned. This time, the factories closed for good.

Kimberly Kiefer, one of five family members formerly employed by city mainstay Freudenberg NOK, is trying to find a silver lining in her situation.

"I look at this as a great opportunity for me to go back to school," she said.


  • Right to Work State
    Alot of articles in up and down times repeatily blame the down turn in the economy because it simplies bad economy is the big picture in most people eyes. If you can't think of anything else to write about in a bad economy, write "anything" and it's effects from the "bad economy." Looking deeper in Indiana and youtr "Right to Work" mentality destroys alot of employees attutides, how they perceive work ethics and how they perform. Companies will always go somewhere where the workers will work cheaper. What's left is people looking for work in a hostel envioment all their life. Do a article on company greed in Indiana. I saw a article on TV on China. A company here in the U.S. sells a hat with their logo on for $20. The Chinese company makes the hats for 96 cents?!?!! What is that, a 200% mark up!?!?! Who can live on that in a, Right to Work State??!?
  • Who is Leaving
    I understand why some companies need to move jobs around and some outside the US. The company I currently work for is doing it, too. Can IBJ print a list of companies that need to move out of IN in an effort to encourage our Legislators to support appropriate legislationg and tax incentives to keep companies and jobs in IN?

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.