City officials and community members gathered for some good economic news last year: Accutech Systems' announcement that it was moving its headquarters to downtown Muncie, spending $5.5 million on the investment. (Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/Star Press)
City officials and community members gathered for some good economic news last year: Accutech Systems' announcement that it was moving its headquarters to downtown Muncie, spending $5.5 million on the investment. (Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/Star Press)
MUNCIE, Ind. — The Anderson economy is "brightening" while neighboring Muncie still isn't over the hump, continuing its "long, slow recovery" from the Great Recession, according to the 2020 economic outlook published by Indiana Business Review.

"The data … suggest that Anderson/Madison County has finally recovered from the Great Recession," wrote Dagney Faulk, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at Ball State University.

She cites Anderson's near-historic-low unemployment rate, job numbers approaching pre-recession levels, increased wages, a decrease in food stamp recipients, and faster-selling homes at prices facing upward pressure.

By comparison, data suggest that the Muncie area's labor market is still recovering from the recession and from "the structural changes in the economy related to dramatic decreases in manufacturing employment" over the past several decades.

The good news is Muncie's unemployment rate decreased last year while average weekly wages increased. Non-farm employment decreased.The average amount of food stamps issued increased but the average number of recipients decreased.

The forecast shows flat employment growth in the Muncie area for 2020, while income is projected to grow at 3.8%. Population growth projections remain flat, Faulk and research assistant Sean Weiss wrote in IBR, a publication of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

Faulk cited some business highlights in the two cities last year, including:

• Two companies proposed the development of four additional wind farms in Madison County.

• AquaBounty Technologies received federal approval to raise genetically engineered salmon in Albany and began hatching fish; more than 10 stores closed in Muncie Mall; Accutech Systems software company announced the renovation of a former downtown department store for its headquarters; public outcry halted plans to convert the long-vacant BorgWarner automotive site into a hazardous steel-dust recycling facility.

Some events that started in prior years that will "affect economic development prospects and the ability of Muncie to attract new households to live in the area are still in process," Faulk pointed out.
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