Indiana Chamber releases economic report card

There is some cause for concern about the future of Indiana’s economy, according to the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber Thursday released its biennial Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card this week and president and CEO Kevin Brinegar said the number shows some promise areas such as business climate, taxes, regulation, and legal environments.

But, he said Indiana is being hampered by the fact that a majority of the state’s workforce is not all that healthy.

“Our percentage of population smoking went from 38th worst to 44th worst,” Brinegar told Inside Indiana Business. “Our obesity rank went from 36th worst to 39th worst. In most other states these rates are going down.”

Brinegar said this is important because it impacts healthcare costs. The less healthy a worker is, the more it costs their employer to provide them healthcare coverage. He said smoking alone is costing Indiana employers $6.2 billion in higher healthcare costs, absenteeism, and lost productivity.

The less healthy a workforce is, the less future employers and businesses will be willing to invest in its workers, said Brinegar.

He also alluded to the fact that Indiana is not as forthcoming as most other states when it comes to new business start-ups.

“Indiana ranks 45th, 47th in that,” Brinegar said, adding that Indiana is not creating new businesses as quickly as other states, but the good news is Indiana current employers are creating new jobs faster than most states.