Between ‘97 and ‘12, Indiana ranked 26th in its rate of growth (average annual rate of 1.07 percent) or just below the national average rate of 1.13 percent. This put us at the top of the bottom half of all the states, a solid expression of mediocrity.
Where Indiana did excel was in comparison with the other four states of the Great Lakes (Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin). Our rate of growth was the best experienced by any of these neighboring competitive states.
But these five states together had the worst growth rate of any region in the nation. To lead the worst is not a great honor or distinction.
Do Indiana’s leaders in business and government believe this is the best we can do? Fifteen years covers a strong start at the end of the century, followed by two recessions and two recoveries. During these years we have had much talk about Indiana’s innovative programs and expensive efforts to strengthen existing firms and to attract new businesses.
Perhaps we need a re-examination of what we believe is innovative and just how we do spend our money.
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.