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NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Recession poster child bouncing back

June 9, 2010

The Elkhart area—used as a backdrop three times by Barack Obama to talk up his economic policies—is making a comeback.

The region churns out three of every four recreational vehicles made in the country, and the plants, while running nowhere near red-hot, are humming at respectable levels after having been decimated in 2008 and ’09 by high gas prices and the recession.

Employment in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan statistical area is back to levels typical of the past couple of decades. Specific figures are hard to tease out of government data, but two classifications heavily influenced in the region by the RV industry—transportation equipment manufacturing, and motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing—were up nearly 40 percent in April from a year earlier, to 41,600 workers.

Some of the bounce is from manufactured housing, but RVs are driving most of the job recovery, industry observers say.

Rec vehicle dealers are using renewed access to financing to replenish spent inventories. How long the run will last is anyone’s guess, the observers say, but the manufacturers and dealers are trying to pace the work to avoid another dip.

How long until Obama returns to claim credit for the comeback? Would he be correct?
 

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