IU Kelley School of Business publication offers a preview of economic conditions in 2017

US economic forecast graphic

The Indiana Business Research Center is making its complete economic forecast for 2017 available through winter issue of the Indiana Business Review.

As we come to the end of another year, among our society’s many annual rituals is to make predictions for the coming year. Faculty in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business are no different.

IU Kelley professors traveled to 10 cities across Indiana last month, presenting their annual economic forecast for 2017 with a local economist.

The school’s Indiana Business Research Center makes its complete forecast available through winter issue of the Indiana Business Review, a publication that has been around since 1926. That special, year-end issue is now available online.

Included are articles about more than a dozen urban areas across the state as well as Louisville and outlooks on agriculture, financial markets, housing, and research and development.

Kelley has issued the annual forecast since 1972, providing people with sensible perspectives as they plan for the future.

In preparing the national forecast, it was challenging for IU economists to be optimistic, especially amid the recent uncertainty.

“An observer of the political scene recently said, ‘I try to be cynical, but I just can’t keep up,'” Bill Witte, associate professor emeritus of economics at IU, said in his introduction to his article about the U.S. economy. “As an economic prognosticator, I feel a little the same. I try to be pessimistic (or at least not optimistic), but I just can’t keep up.”

Witte hasn’t altered his forecast since presenting it publicly last month. He continues to believe that the economy will continue to “muddle through, matching the past year, or perhaps do a little better.”

As in 2015 and this year, the IU Kelley School economists expect national output growth next year to average only slightly above 2 percent.

While most of the articles look at various factors in local communities that could have an impact on conditions for working Hoosiers, one article in the special issue takes a long view with regard to innovation and entrepreneurship in Indiana.

Timothy Slaper, director of economic analysis, and Thomas Walton, a research assistant, both in the Indiana Business Research Center, noted in an article that the Hoosier economy could be primed for entrepreneurial expansion due to the recently adopted Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the innovation-entrepreneurship bill.

They point to the value of creating a Hoosier entrepreneurial ecosystem, which they describe as a complex system of infrastructure, resources and human capital that drives innovation. They go on to explain how the economic development legislation might lead to such success in Indiana.

“Many experts agree that state interventions can be indispensable for catalyzing entrepreneurship” they wrote. “It is encouraging that the state is taking action because there is much at stake. Thankfully, Indiana legislators have done well to address the many facets of encouraging startup formation and economic development.

“There remain areas for improvement, such as attracting more immigrant populations to the state, or providing additional social services and workforce development opportunities for at-risk and lower-income individuals,” Slaper and Walton added. “Hoosiers have a reason to be optimistic though about the future of Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, Indianapolis, South Bend and Evansville will join the ranks of the ‘best cities’ in America.”

In addition to the Indiana Business Review, consumers, policy-makers and business executives alike will find many other resources at the Indiana Business Research Center website.

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