Hicks sees potential for ‘pretty good’ 2020

Michael Hicks is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University. (IIB Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Ball State University economist Mike Hicks says despite recent manufacturing job losses, 2020 is shaping up to be a potentially good year for the Indiana economy, with little evidence of a pending recession. 

“Looking into next year, probably a little slower growth than in 2019, but no huge warning signs anywhere in our economy,” said Hicks, who adds a resolution to ongoing trade disputes would provide additional upside for the Hoosier state. 

Hicks said while the state lost approximately 10,000 manufacturing jobs in 2019, after a decade of economic recovery and adding jobs in the sector, it may have been an anomaly, a quick pause in the sector.  And with unemployment low, wages rising and positive economic development activity, he feels earlier predictions of recession may have been premature. 

“I just can’t force it into recession,” said Hicks.  “Even with the manufacturing job losses, they’re not spilling into the rest of the economy.”    

Hicks talked about the Indiana economy and what he sees as the big storylines for 2020 on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.

Hicks is predicting economic growth of about 1.9% in 2020, continued low unemployment and, importantly, rising wages.  Indiana led the Midwest in income growth in the fourth quarter, a fact that Hicks calls “a huge piece of good news.”

Hicks, the director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, says talent attraction and retention will continue to be one of the big storylines in 2020 throughout Indiana.  “We cannot fuel a big, modern economy without more of those college-educated folks.”