By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance
In case you missed it: Aspire hosted an Economic Outlook Breakfast event at Mallow Run Winery in Bargersville on Nov. 8. The panel included staff from the Kelley School of Business, who presented research on Johnson County’s positive economic trends for 2024.
The program featured an economic update by Dr. Phil Powell and a panel discussion. Dr. Powell is executive director of the Indiana Business Research Center, associate clinical professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Powell shared insights during the program along with panelists Ankit Kalda, assistant professor of Finance; Jennifer Rice, senior lecturer; and Carol Rogers, director of the Indiana Business Research Center, all from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.
Each panelist shared insights and research from their various areas of expertise. Kalda shared trends in Hoosiers’ household finance, and Rice and Rogers discussed how Johnson County’s economic outlook compares to other Indiana counties, the greater Indianapolis region and state.
A few highlights from Dr. Powell’s Futurecast for 2024:
- Despite a historic increase in interest rates, the U.S. economy outperformed expectations.
- Total demand of goods and services across the U.S. may diminish, influenced by consumer spending.
- Employment growth in Indiana will see a slowdown in 2024.
- There is little possibility of a recession in the next few quarters.
- U.S. consumer activity is slowing, and student loan payment resumption may exacerbate this.
- Elevated costs of student loans, housing and consumer credit may weigh on consumer activity.
Despite challenges to the national economy such as high interest rates and inflation, Johnson County maintains a productive economy with signs of healthy consumer spending. Dr. Powell also noted that Johnson County’s economy is considered almost completely recovered from the 2020 pandemic’s recession.
The panelists responded to questions from members of the business community on issues including the state of the local housing market, student loan debt and their impact on the workforce and economic growth.
The panelists agreed with many in the audience that more diverse housing options would facilitate lasting economic growth. Dr. Powell noted that while the growth from consumer spending is beneficial, Johnson County’s long-term development would depend more on its ability to create new housing and job opportunities within the community.
The guest speakers commended Johnson County’s business and community leaders for facilitating economic growth that defied the negative trends they saw with the rest of Indianapolis and the surrounding region. The event presentation and discussion left attendees with a comprehensive understanding and optimistic outlook for the local economy for 2024.