Anderson forecast 2020
Director of Research, Center for Business and Economic Research, Ball State University
The data available from various government sources for 2019 suggest that Anderson/Madison County has finally recovered from the Great Recession. The unemployment rate is near a historic low. The number of jobs in the county is approaching pre-recession levels. Wages have increased overall and in most industry sectors, and the number of food stamp recipients has decreased. Anderson, like other cities in the Midwest, has struggled to redefine itself after the exodus of large-scale manufacturing firms over the past several decades.
Highlights from 2019’s business news include applications to develop solar farms/parks in Anderson and Madison County, as well as increases in new housing construction. Two companies have proposed the development of four additional solar farms in Madison County: Invenergy proposed a large 850 acre+ solar farm, while Indiana Municipal Power proposed three smaller solar farms.1 The residential real estate market is picking up: According to media reports, Madison County has had the largest increase in applications for residential building permits over the past year of any of the Indianapolis metro counties.2
This article includes the most current data available on various measures of economic activity from public sources for Anderson (Madison County). The goal is to analyze changes over the past year, with a summary of the labor market forecast for the Anderson area included in the conclusion.
While there has been some variation in the Madison County unemployment rate over the past year, it is currently the lowest it has been since the early 2000s (see Table 1). The preliminary unemployment rate for September 2019 is 3.1 percent and is higher than the state (2.8 percent), but lower than the national (3.3 percent) unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted).
Table 1: Labor force and unemployment in Madison County
|Year||Month||Labor force||Unemployment||Unemployment rate|
Note: Data are not seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A look at data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages shows variation in employment gains and losses among industries. The number of jobs in Madison County has been steadily increasing since 2011 and totaled 39,448 during the first quarter of 2019—slightly higher than the previous year and about even with pre-recession employment (2007 Q1). Manufacturing (adding over 250 jobs) was the sector with the most job growth, while transportation/warehousing and educational services each added more than 100 jobs. Sectors with the largest job losses were administration and support and arts, entertainment and recreation (see Table 2 for details). This marks the third year of increases in manufacturing employment, but these are small increases relative to the thousands of manufacturing jobs lost over the past four decades. Madison County began the millennium with around 11,000 manufacturing jobs and currently has around 5,200. The peak for manufacturing employment was around 30,000 jobs in the early 1970s.
Table 2: Madison County jobs
|Industry||2015 Q1||2016 Q1||2017 Q1||2018 Q1||2019 Q1||Change, 2018-2019||Percent change, 2018-2019|
|Health care and social services||6,288||6,527||6,937||6,895||6,808||-87||-1.3%|
|Accommodation and food services||4,133||4,173||4,287||4,275||4,257||-18||-0.4%|
|Transportation and warehousing||1,827||2,154||1,985||2,011||2,200||189||9.4%|
|Administrative, support, waste management and remediation||2,120||2,346||2,185||2,328||1,970||-358||-15.4%|
|Finance and insurance||912||919||962||1,075||1,177||102||9.5%|
|Other services (except public administration)||1,145||1,144||1,123||1,120||1,101||-19||-1.7%|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||1,091||1,080||1,026||1,030||930||-100||-9.7%|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||789||782||749||729||700||-29||-4.0%|
|Management of companies and enterprises||328||562||441||435||417||-18||-4.1%|
|Real estate and rental and leasing||396||406||420||373||365||-8||-2.1%|
|Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting||131||144||166||166||178||12||7.2%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Indiana Department of Workforce Development
Average wages increased over 2 percent from the previous year to $752 per week during 2019 Q1 (the most recent data available) and continue to be lower than the state average of $964 for the same period. Table 3 shows average weekly wages (not adjusted for inflation) for the first quarters of 2018 and 2019. Most sectors experienced increases in wages. The sectors with the strongest wage growth were arts, entertainment and recreation (19 percent) and management of companies and enterprises (14 percent). Sectors that experienced declines in wages include wholesale trade and educational services. The inflation rate between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019 was 1.2 percent, so workers in most sectors experienced real wage growth over this period.
Table 3: Average weekly wages in Madison County
|Industry||2018 Q1||2019 Q1||Change, 2018-2019||Percent change, 2018-2019|
|Management of companies and enterprises||$1,470||$1,677||$207||14.1%|
|Finance and insurance||$1,175||$1,178||$3||0.3%|
|Transportation and warehousing||$880||$865||-$15||-1.7%|
|Professional, scientific and technical services||$836||$832||-$4||-0.5%|
|Health care and social services||$786||$802||$16||2.0%|
|Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting||$677||$670||-$7||-1.0%|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||$540||$644||$104||19.3%|
|Real estate and rental and leasing||$587||$606||$19||3.2%|
|Administrative, support, waste management and remediation||$479||$522||$43||9.0%|
|Other services (except public administration)||$480||$488||$8||1.7%|
|Accommodation and food services||$277||$279||$2||0.7%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Indiana Department of Workforce Development
The residential real estate market in Madison County appears to be tightening. For existing houses listed through the MLS, the cumulative number of days on the market has decreased from 147 in 2011 to 50 in 2019 (see Table 4), indicating that homes are selling more quickly. The average sales price of existing homes has increased each of the past five years and topped $126,000 during the first three quarters of 2019. Part of the increase in the average sales price is likely due to the mix of houses sold during the period, but it is also suggestive of upward pressure on home prices. The limited data that is available on residential construction as measured by new single-family building permits issued suggests that more people are building new houses. In the unincorporated parts of Madison County, 37, 51 and 34 single-family permits were issued in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively, between January and September.3
Table 4: Madison County year-to-date residential real estate sales
|Year||Units sold||Average price||Average cumulative days on market|
Note: Data are January through September for each year. Dollar values are not adjusted for inflation.
Source: Metro Indianapolis Board of Realtors
Social safety net
Changes in the number of food stamp recipients and the dollar amount of food stamp payments are one indicator of economic distress in a community. The number of food stamp recipients in Madison County has been steadily decreasing since 2013—but at a slower rate in 2019 than previous years (see Table 5). While the number of recipients has decreased, the dollar amount of food stamps issued increased during 2019 after declining for each of the past five years. The number of food stamp recipients decreased 3 percent to about 15,325 individuals (about 12 percent of the population in the county) during the January to September time period. The average monthly dollar amount distributed in food stamps increased 6.9 percent to $2.0 million over this same period.
Table 5: Food stamp recipients in Madison County
|Year||Total food stamps issued (monthly average)||Number of households receiving food stamps (monthly average)||Number of food stamp recipients (monthly average)|
Note: Each year is based on January through September monthly averages. Dollar amounts are not adjusted for inflation.
Source: STATS Indiana, using Family and Social Services Administration data
May 2019 marked the 11th full year of operation of Hoosier Park Casino. Over this time period, gaming options have proliferated. In November 2009, Ohio voters approved a ballot initiative to allow land-based casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo that opened in 2012 and 2013—in addition to several racinos with video lottery terminals that were opened around the same time. Also, the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi Indians opened a casino in South Bend in early 2018. The increased availability of gaming opportunities in Ohio and Northern Indiana may explain at least in part the decrease in winnings and associated taxes from 2013-2015 and 2018 as patrons checked out the Ohio casinos and racinos and the new Indiana casino (see Table 6).
Table 6: Win and wagering tax totals from Hoosier Park Casino in Anderson
|Fiscal year||Win||Percent change||Wagering tax||Percent change|
After declining between 2017 and 2018, the winnings and the wagering tax generated at Hoosier Park increased over the past year. Winnings increased 2.5 percent to $213.9 million and wagering tax revenues generated from these winning increased 2.8 percent to $51.5 million. For FY 2019, Hoosier Park ranked fifth of the 13 Indiana casinos in terms of total winnings and associated wagering tax payments. The Indiana General Assembly authorized sports wagering in casinos to begin September 2019, and Hoosier Park is expected to offer sports wagering. We will see how this impacts Hoosier Park over the next year.
The official numbers show a brightening local economy. The level of employment in the county has increased, average wages have increased and the unemployment rate continued to decrease along with the number of people needing public assistance over the past year. Home sales have picked up: Existing homes are selling more quickly, and there is upward pressure on prices. In the coming year, we expect employment to remain stable and income to increase (in the 4 percent range).4
- K. de la Bastide, “Expansion of controversial solar farm approved by Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals,” (Anderson) Herald Bulletin, September 25, 2019; K. de la Bastide, “Madison County approves 26-acre solar park request near Anderson,” (Anderson) Herald Bulletin, June 27, 2019; K. de la Bastide, “Madison BZA approves 2 Anderson solar parks: IMPA required to install screen plantings near residents,” (Anderson) Herald Bulletin, July 5, 2019.
- K. de la Bastide, “Madison County bucking a trend: Unlike neighboring counties home construction applications on the rise,” (Anderson) Herald Bulletin, August 10, 2019.
- We were unable to obtain building permit data in the incorporated areas of Madison County.
- Forecasts come from the Indiana University Center for Econometric Model Research (https://ibrc.kelley.iu.edu/analysis/cemr/), September 2019.