“Well why would they invest if Hoosiers are not prepared to work?” John interjected.
“It seems clear to me progressive firms are not dependent on the local labor market. If they thought it was best to invest in capital, they should also be prepared to invest in labor through higher wages and necessary training.
“Yet many companies coming to or expanding here want to cut costs and shave wages. That’s why they tell cheery stories about our ‘good business climate’, by which they mean lax regulation, low wages, low levels of benefits, and low taxes to support public services.
“We’re still a prime location for call centers and fulfillment facilities where forklifts constitute advanced machinery. When companies are truly moving forward, they pay wages that attract the skilled workers they need, workers who will come great distances to get jobs.”
“Then most of the ‘good news’ about our economy,” John said, “is about doing what’s necessary for Indiana to run in place.”
“Right,” I agreed. “And even then we are slipping behind other states.”
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.