94 years of economic insights for Indiana

The IBR is a publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business

Terre Haute

Associate Director, Indiana Business Research Center, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Indianapolis

Terre Haute celebrated the twenty year anniversary of Digital Disc Audio Corporation in 2003, the mammoth producer of music and video compact discs and DVDs. One of the largest employers in the area, the company announced expansion plans during the past year.

Even with that good news in 2003, the Terre Haute metropolitan area was relatively stagnant in terms of population and economic growth. Its population has grown a scant 1.1 percent since Census 2000. The number of people moving out of the area is higher than that moving in, while the age of the area is significantly older proportionally than the state average. Population projections by the Indiana Business Research Center show that Terre Haute’s metro area population will grow very slowly over the next few decades (see Figure 1).

Figure 1
Terre Haute Metro Area Projected Population, 2005 to 2040

Figure 1

The labor supply has remained relatively constant over the past few years, while the rate of unemployment for this metro area is continually in the top one or two spot among the twelve metro areas (see Figure 2).

Figure 2
Unemployment and the Labor Force in Terre Haute

Figure 2

Its status during the twentieth century was as one of the more significant industrial engines of the state. While the area continues to have a significant portion (15 percent) of its workforce in manufacturing, lower paying trade and services jobs make up the lion’s share of the way people earn their living in Terre Haute (see Table 1).

Table 1
Survey of Payroll Employment, November 2001 to November 2003

Table 1

The area’s personal income was at $23,493 in 2001, while the state per capita was $27,522. That’s a difference of $4,029, or 15 percent less than the state per capita. Terre Haute’s per capita income has been significantly lower than the state’s since the 1970s (see Figure 3).

Figure 3
Per Capita Income, 1969 to 2001

Figure 3

State economists are forecasting nearly thirty thousand new jobs during 2004. Unless there is a major turnaround in the area during the coming year, Terre Haute will see minimal employment gains at best.