Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

October 1, 2013

MARCUS: Data that makes us feel good

It was delightful to read in the newspaper and on the internet that Kokomo, Elkhart-Goshen and Columbus were among the leading metropolitan areas in economic growth in 2012. The report came from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, and stimulated local public relations people to rejoice with news releases that were sheer exhilaration.

After all, the combined 381metro areas of the United States managed growth of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by just two percent for 2012. But our stars shined: Elkhart-Goshen 11 percent, Columbus 10 percent and Kokomo 8 percent. Blow that trumpet, thump that gong. Don’t let reality cast a shadow where the stars are shining.

The joy could have been as great and the self-congratulatory remarks from state and local offices could have been more useful if the full story were told.

Adjusted for inflation, GDP for the Elkhart-Goshen metro area remains $586 million or six percent below its 2007 peak. The Kokomo metro area is $507 million or 12 percent below its 2007 peak.

These two sterling trend setters remain among the most economically depressed areas in the U.S.

Kokomo ranks 367th of 381 metro areas in its compound annual rate of growth from 2007 to 2012. Elkhart-Goshen ranks 321st. These two Indiana metro areas suffered severe declines in 2008 and 2009 from which they have not recovered. Yes, they are doing better, but, as noted above, each has an added half billion dollars of output to generate before they return to their 2007 levels. Columbus, by contrast is among the elite metro areas in the country, with real GDP 10 percent greater than in 2007. Bloomington and Lafayette also are among the top 100 metros in average annual real growth rates between 2007 and 2012.

The fanfare that accompanied release of these numbers is not unusual. We have many offices and “news” services that are agents of happy tidings. To see data in perspective is not part of their mission statements. They take almost any news release at face value. For example, both Trine University in Angola and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend recently released their economic impact studies. Trine modestly claims a $73 million impact on Indiana while Notre Dame touts a billion dollar impact on the South Bend community. (A Notre Dame home football game is worth $18 million, in case you wondered.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Stop spinning wheels and fund highways It is important that Congress act quickly to maintain sufficient funding levels in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for necessary highway projects.Indiana receives more than 40 percent of its total state highway and transit funding from the federal gove

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.