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Elkhart Walking, Not Running Out of Recession

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March 16, 2010 by   Leave a Comment

Elkhart, Ind., Mayor Dick Moore said the city isn’t running out of the recession – but it is walking out of it, during his annual “State of the City Address” Monday night (March 15).

For example, more than 20% of the city’s work force was out of work a year ago, noted WNDU-TV in its report on the speech. Now that rate has fallen to 17%.

In his last “State of the City Address” – back in 2009 — Moore said he was “personally inviting business and industry across the country to come and take a look at us, we must be sure that when they get here, they see something they like.”

Businesses must have seen something they liked. Recently Elkhart County was ranked No.1 nationwide for new investment for a county its size.

On Monday night, Mayor Moore’s comments were mostly positive.

“Th!nk North America selected Elkhart to build the next generation of electric cars,” said Moore.

“We are beginning to add more jobs than we are losing,” he said during another part of his speech.

Moore credits some of the improvement to President Obama, who put Elkhart front and center in the national spotlight. Media coverage followed. The city has received more than $40 million in federal economic stimulus money.

“A stampede of national news media reporters from literally across the globe,” said Moore in his speech.

More changes have happened in the last year, not all of them positive signs. RV shipments are up 116%, but foreclosures are up 1% over last year and the city’s labor force has dropped by more than 1,500 people.

Meanwhile, Republican council member David Henke says he’s worried about jobs for the people of Elkhart.

“I believe it is all about jobs, we can spend dollars and buy all the new equipment, trucks, cars, vehicles of every kind, but what we’re actually doing, as this administration expands municipal jobs, is increasing operational cost,” said Henke.

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