Spring brings good things to county
economy, says MC's Harsbarger
The Wabash County economy came out of the winter doldrums in the first
quarter of 2005 with increases in employment and bank deposits adjusted
for inflation, reports Dr. Richard B. Harshbarger, Manchester College
professor emeritus of economics. Those increases may provide a stronger
economic growth base for 2005, Harshbarger said.
The economic index for the county rose 1 percent since Dec. 31,
offsetting the yearly decrease for 2004, he said.
Employment in the first quarter in Wabash County was at its
highest since fall 2004, with a 3.4 percent increase over the same 2004
period, and growth in each of the first three months of 2005, he said. A
total of 16,710 Wabash County residents were employed in March 2005,
leading to 6.5 percent unemployment – and halting what was becoming a
trend of 2.5 percent declines the past two years.
“For the first time in 15 months, bank deposits (adjusted
for inflation) in the county saw an increase,” Harshbarger said. The
deposits rose $10 million, to $610,865,000 in March.
Harshbarger noted little or no change in industrial electricity demand
and housing construction in the start of 2005. Weather tended to
constrain housing construction, with only 10 permits issued in the
first quarter of 2005.