Indiana recovery well underway; up next, the expansion

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Sometimes it’s hard to tell just where things stand with the economy, with all of the numbers coming and going. But one important indicator suggests Indiana is clawing its way back toward a highpoint experienced just before the recession.

In a forthcoming column in IBJ, Morton Marcus points out that personal income at the end of 2010 was 2 percent above the second quarter of 2008, the most recent peak. (Personal income includes pretty much the shebang—wages and salaries, Social Security, Medicare, dividends, unemployment compensation, self-employment income and so on.

“I think it’s been a remarkably fast recovery given the torment we’ve had from it,” says Marcus, a former director of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University.

What hasn’t caught up are wages and salaries. The component is still 2 percent below the peak, he says. Another is job numbers. The state stubbornly remains about 200,000 short of the nearly 3 million jobs of early 2008.

So the economy is crawling ahead. When the next expansion will begin, and how long it will last, are anyone’s guesses, he says. Expansions used to last a couple of years, but in the past three decades they’ve tended to linger for several years at a time.

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