Many thought it would happen. Indiana’s Elkhart County ranked first in the nation in job growth in 2012, according to a report by WSBT, South Bend.
This was big news considering the county led the nation in job losses when the recession hit several years ago, and it didn’t take long for word to get out around.
“We have the kind of work force, we make things that we are going to bounce back, so it is certainly welcome news,” said Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce President Kyle Hannon.
The local RV industry had a hand in turning around those employment numbers.
Thor Industries Inc., parent to several high profile companies in Elkhart County, opted to bring its headquarters to the area.
“As a corporation, we have looked at Elkhart County, and we’ve decided to move our corporate offices from Ohio to Elkhart, and it’s because 70% of the production that we have is built right here in Elkhart County,” said Thor President and COO Bob Martin.
Early during the recession, Martin says the employment picture was not as bright. They had to pull back production and let people go.
“As the economy has come back, we’ve been very fortunate that we have been able to hire as many or more people back then we had prior to the recession,” Martin added.
Martin says he’s not surprised by the recent uptick in employment throughout Elkhart County whether in the RV trade, technology and business, big or small.
“We have been just happy to be a big part of it.”
Hannon added, “I think, quite frankly, we expected to be leading the nation in job recovery.”
Elkhart County’s job growth was more than three times the national average of around 2% last year.