Job creation numbers on the rise in Indiana

Jeannine Lake took a chance opening a restaurant in Muncie.
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Some jobs numbers in Indiana may be melting economic fears.

"Our numbers are on a par to do well, stay here, stay open and continue to hire," says Jeannine Lee Lake, a Muncie business owner.

Indiana unemployment is still higher than normal, but Hoosiers are helping lead the nation in job creation.

"I was just stunned to read the number of jobs Indiana had created in a disappointing month nationally," said Dr. Michael Hicks of Ball State University.

Hicks says the news isn't just a flash in the pan.

"Nearly one in eight jobs nationwide were created here in Indiana in April, which is an astonishing and amazing performance for Indiana," he said.

Experts credit a rebound in manufacturing, new jobs at Subaru, Honda and Cummins, plus a solid transportation network. Transportation was a big job engine and a stable tax situation, with no prospect of big increases in taxes.

"It wasn't since the great recovery of the end of the Bush 1 term that we've seen job creation numbers, sustained job creations numbers, that we've seen this year since 1983 when we came out of the last really deep recession," Hicks said.

He says the recession in Europe could slow the U.S. and Indiana's economy. But he thinks Indiana is on track to cutting unemployment to six percent, which is traditionally considered "full employment" in Indiana.

"Most importantly, our tax climate, our business climate is one that looks stable," Hicks said.

That means there are no big, looming tax hikes here.

When Lake opened her shop, she was wary of signing a five-year lease on the building in Muncie's village. But now, she feels her bet on Indiana paid off.

The future jobs are located in manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, skilled technicians and the health field.

"You can pretty much go anywhere with an RN," says Ivy Tech nursing student Ashley Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is targeting a career that can pay over $50,000 a year in Indianapolis.

"You can't really find a job without some sort of a certificate or at least a BA degree anymore," she said.

Andrew Hughes is also at Ivy Tech, for heating and air conditioning training. It can pay about $40,000 a year.

"Companies are looking for people with experience," he said. "Can't get that right out of high school, so college is the way to go."