The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority released a special
report this week that says less than 50 percent of it jobs created on
special construction projects are held by Porter and Lake County residents.
According to a “Buy Indiana Special Summary” report prepared by
Organizational Development Solutions, Inc., from a total of 932 employees on
the jobs, only 479 are from Lake/Porter counties, about 48.8 percent.
Porter County RDA jobs however have a stronger proportion with 68 jobs
belonging to local residents out of 122, or about 56 percent.
The three other assessed areas included Gary, East Chicago, and
Hammond/Whiting in Lake County where 87 percent of the jobs are.
Gary saw new 465 jobs with 279 local employees, or roughly 60 percent. East
Chicago has a mere two jobs created with one of those jobs held by a NWI
resident, 50 percent.
But the figures for Hammond/Whiting is where only about 34 percent of 393
RDA jobs there belong to locals (131 jobs).
RDA officials said they expect the proportion of Lake/Porter residents
employed to be augmented in the next construction season.
The “Buy Indiana” report did show that even though companies are not hiring
as many workers from Lake/Porter counties, a strong majority of companies on
RDA projects are based in Northwest Indiana.
Of the total 214 companies utilized, 161 are local, more than 75 percent.
Hammond/Whiting reports 83 percent of companies are NWI based, Gary shows
69.3 percent and East Chicago shows 100 percent. But Porter County had the
lowest percentage of NWI companies being utilized with 53.3 percent (57 out
of 107 companies).
Earlier this week, the RDA issued a press release of a separate study done
by Policy Analytics LLC, an independent economic research firm based in
Indianapolis, that reports the agency will have made more than a $1.1
billion impact on the local economy by 2015 since its inception in 2006.
The Return on Investment Analysis indicates that for every dollar spent by
the RDA, the region sees a return of $5.11.
The ROI study was conducted at the request of the RDA and showed that the
approximately $210 million the agency invested to date in shoreline
redevelopment, the Gary/Chicago International Airport, commuter
transportation and economic development has created or supported more than
2,000 jobs in Northwest Indiana.
“All of our investments are catalytic in nature and are designed to attract
new businesses and improve our quality of life,” said Bill Hanna, president
and CEO of the RDA. “So they will continue to generate additional return on
investment in the years to come.”
By 2025, the RDA’s investments are projected to generate $770 million in
economic output annually (in 2012 dollars). This increased economic output
in 2025 will support approximately 4,000 jobs in the Lake and Porter County
region. More than 2,000 of these jobs will be supported by industrial and
commercial investment in and around the airport. The increase in economic
activity and employment will increase personal income in NWI by an estimated
Other highlights in the ROI analysis report include:
• Shoreline Construction activity is projected to generate $425 million in
economic output and a total of 891 jobs in 2012. This includes 475 direct
jobs in construction-related industries, 145 indirect jobs from supply chain
purchasing, and 270 induced jobs from increased household spending. Over the
course of the planned construction period, 2007-2014, one dollar in RDA
contribution results in $3.47 of local impact throughout the economy.
• By 2025, the ongoing economic impact of the shoreline development projects
funded currently are projected to generate a combined $93 million annually
in total economic output to the NWI region. The total amount of projected
disposable personal income in the region is estimated to increase by
approximately $91 million ($140 per capita) annually, and the total annual
employment impact is projected at 1,010 jobs by 2025.
• The Gary/Chicago International Airport runway extension is projected to
generate $277 million in total economic impact over the course of the runway
extension project. At its peak, this will generate approximately 1,040
annual jobs. Because of the type of investment, a majority of jobs will be
concentrated in construction-related industries, but approximately 475 jobs
will be produced in industries throughout the economy from indirect and
other household spending.
• These jobs will generate an estimated $56 million in labor income in 2013.
Overall, $1 of RDA investment in the Garyairport runway extension project
will generate $5.32 in total economic output.
• Ongoing airport and business operations are projected to result in
approximately 2,430 new jobs for NWI by 2025. The same activity is projected
to generate $527 million in economic output and $169 million in disposable
• Based on the economic modeling done for this report, the total State sales
and income taxes generated by the RDA’s investments will total $8.3 million
annually by 2015, and $23.8 million by 2025. Although the fiscal impacts for
local units of government in increased property tax and excise tax revenue
are beyond the scope of this analysis, the RDA is certainly having an impact
on the revenue streams of the local governments throughout the region.
“We have only taken our first steps in transforming the region,” Hanna said.
“There remains a great deal of work to be done. It is imperative that the
RDA and public and private officials continue to work together to capitalize
on Northwest Indiana’s geographic advantage, including its proximity to
Chicago, the Lake Michigan shoreline and its position as a transportation
and logistics hub. We have tremendous momentum right now and are positioning
the region for growth as the national economy recovers.”
A copy of the report can be found on the RDA’s website,