Indiana’s Elkhart County led the nation in job growth between September 2011 and September 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Thursday (March 28).
“Elkhart, Ind., had the largest percentage increase in employment (6.9%) among the largest U.S. counties,” according to Thursday’s announcement. The national growth rate was 1.6%.
The Elkhart Truth reported that manufacturing led the way in Elkhart County, gaining 4,734 jobs over that time, a growth of 10.1%, according to the BLS quarterly census of employment and wages. “In Elkhart County, what else but manufacturing,” said Dave Daugherty, president of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce.
Manufacturing has an oversize importance to the economy, and roughly half of Elkhart County manufacturing is related to the recreational vehicle industry. That industry has seen strong growth over the last couple of years.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RV shipments grew 13.6% in 2012, and they are off to a strong start for this year, with January up 30% over the previous January, and February up 6% over the previous February.
That led to new positions at RV makers — the RVIA estimates 83% of all North American RVs are made in and around Elkhart County — and at RV suppliers.
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