Survey: Nearly two-thirds of Hoosiers say plenty of jobs available

A majority of Hoosiers believe plenty of jobs are available, according to the results of an annual public policy survey released Tuesday.

Ball State University’s Hoosier Survey, conducted since 2008, asked for the first time this year about local job opportunities. The survey, conducted by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State, found that 64% of respondents believe there are plenty of job opportunities, while 25% say jobs are difficult to find.

When responses were broken down by education and income, those with more education and higher income were more likely to say it’s easy to find jobs than those with a high school diploma or less and lower income. Of the respondents with a household income of less than $30,000, 32% said it’s difficult to find jobs.

Workforce development has been a pillar of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s agenda during his first term. He created the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to oversee job-training programs, re-enrolled residents in college-degree programs and increased the number of businesses receiving employee training grants.

Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer said workforce development and job creation have clearly been “highly focused on over the last three years.”

“There are a lot of opportunities,” Hupfer said during a presentation and discussion of the survey results Tuesday morning in downtown Indianapolis. “I think maybe it’s a disconnect between skills and openings.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody agreed that the skills gap has been an issue for awhile, but suggested that another issue is how much jobs are paying and how many jobs Hoosiers have to work in order to earn a livable wage.

“I do think that’s the next question to ask, and the argument or the conversation isn’t complete until we’ve had that part of the discussion, too,” Zody said.

The survey also asked about abortion and gun control—two issues that regularly come up at the Indiana Statehouse during the legislative session. The results showed that Hoosiers are pretty evenly split on abortion, with 48% saying abortion should either be legal in all cases or most cases, and 45% saying it should be illegal either in all cases or most cases.

On gun control, the survey asked about several policies including laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns, expanding background checks on gun purchases, banning assault-style weapons and creating a federal gun sale database. The two most popular measures were increasing background checks, with 83% of respondents supporting it, and preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns, with 80% supporting it.

The survey also asked about a top issue in the 2020 presidential race: health care. About 50% of Hoosiers said providing insurance is not the federal government’s responsibility, while 41% said it is the responsibility of the federal government.

As for how Hoosiers feel about Indiana elected officials, Holcomb had an approval rating of 50%, which is slightly down from 53% last year.

And, for the first time, the survey gathered information about a state-elected office holder other than governor and asked about Attorney General Curtis Hill, who received a 38% approval rating and 15% disapproval rating. Notably, a significant portion of Hoosiers had never heard of him (11%) or didn’t have an opinion (36%).

As for the Indiana General Assembly, its approval rating was 45%. The disapproval rating was 19%, the lowest it has been since the Hoosier Survey started 11 years ago.

The survey was conducted by phone from Oct. 8-28 and included responses from 600 Indiana adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

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