Elkhart County has fastest job growth in country - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart County has fastest job growth in country

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Elkhart County out-paced the country in job growth by nearly 400% last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Elkhart led large counties across the country with a gain of 7.4% in 2012.  National growth was only 1.9%.

Dicor Corporation President Gregg Fore says it's good to finally see growth again. "That's wonderful because a few years ago we were leading in the wrong ways."

But not anymore. Now Elkhart County is leading the nation in job growth and it's a trend Fore sees playing out at his company. "We've probably increased our employment about 20% in the last 12-18 months."

Fore says he isn't surprised by the stats. "This is a unique community, we find ways to create opportunities in this community. The people here, the business owners and the managers are very, very good at finding new things to do and new ways to grow."

Bob Jones works for Dicor, he started a few months ago. "I was laid off for about a year and 5 months or so and looked for work and couldn't find it, then things started picking up here in Elkhart."

He says he's happy about the improvements in the community and is glad to finally have a job. "It is showing up, I've talked to other people and it seems as though things are picking up here."

Elkhart County Economic Development Corporation President Dorinda Heiden-Guss says this is a sign of good things ahead. "This is bringing in new payroll and this is creating more services and amenities to the communities because of job creation."

And she says everyone in the county will benefit from the news.

Manufacturing was the fastest driver of job growth, with manufacturing employment in Elkhart County gaining 5,479 jobs during 2012.  That is an 11.6% increase from 2011. Heiden-Guss says the RV industry is playing a big part in that. "That has just skyrocketed and those are the folks that have been adding additional personal on and we've had two corporation announcements this year in 2012."

She says Elkhart is usually the one leading economic trends. "We tend to be the first in any economic downturn, but we're also the first out by approximately six months." Which is why she says this isn't just good news for Elkhart County, but surrounding areas too.

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