Business, personal finance, and economic news

Indiana’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than seven years, falling below five percent in June.

The Hoosier State’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.9 percent last month, the first time it’s been below five percent since February of 2008.  June marks the fifth consecutive month the rate has declined, and since January of 2013, only one other state – Rhode Island – has decreased its unemployment rate more than Indiana. 

Courtesy / Indiana Dept. of Agriculture

The Indiana Department of Agriculture this week will announce the launch of Indiana Grown, a program promoting products made and produced in the Hoosier State.

The idea of a “Made in Indiana” brand isn’t new.  But state Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says the previous version was underfunded and understaffed and, thus, ineffective. 

McKinney says the new program, Indiana Grown, is much more robust, with funding from the Department of Agriculture – and Hoosiers can already see results.

Experts Split on Effectiveness of Indiana's WSJ Ad

Jun 10, 2015
Courtesy / State of Indiana

Indiana took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday criticizing Connecticut’s $1.5 billion tax increase and touting Indiana’s business friendly policies.

The ad that was placed in the Connecticut, New Jersey and New York versions of the Wall Street journal bears this message: “Friends don’t let friends pay higher taxes.”

The ad specifically names General Electric, whose executives have been threatening to leave Connecticut because of tax increases. But Indiana University tax law professor Ajay Mehrotra says that’s not likely to happen.

Courtesy / NEIRP

Northeast Indiana’s bid for the regional cities initiative just gained another partner.

The Regional Cities Initiative is a new pot of public-private money held by the state that will be allocated to Indiana regions to fund quality-of-life projects. Those projects are meant to help a region bolster its identity and retain talent.

The ten counties in the Northeast Indiana coalition voted to allow Kosciusko County—west of Fort Wayne—to join the collaborative in creating projects and helping with the presentation to the state.

Doden Named CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

May 5, 2015
Courtesy / Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Fort Wayne’s unified economic development organization is getting new leadership.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. named Eric Doden its new chief executive officer this week, replacing former CEO Mark Becker, who resigned in January.

Doden is the outgoing president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the state agency that works to attract new business to Indiana. Governor Mike Pence appointed him to the position in 2013.

Courtesy / State of Indiana

Indiana’s unemployment rate fell in March to its lowest level in five months, but the state’s private sector also lost jobs last month.

The Hoosier unemployment rate fell one tenth of a percent to 5.8 percent in March, the second month in a row the rate went down. 

But that drop may not be good news: the state’s private sector lost 800 jobs last month, fueled by huge losses – more than 5,000 – in the professional and business services sector. 

ACRES Receives Surprise $1 Million Gift

Mar 12, 2015
Courtesy / Steve Linsenmayer

ACRES Land Trust announced this week it received a surprise gift of one million dollars from the estate of a Fort Wayne man.

The trust was founded in 1960 with a mission to acquire land to create nature preserves.

The bequest comes from the estate of Robert E. Pence, a former tool maker, computer technician, and lifelong nature enthusiast. Pence died in 2012.

Holly Chaille

With an increasing demand for fresh, healthy food, the Purdue Extension Local Food Program and the Allen County Extension Office are teaming up this Wednesday to host the first-ever Fort Wayne Local Food Summit.

Its goal is to assess the needs in the local food production chain, and find a commonality between producers, distributors and consumers here in Northeast Indiana.

Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Fort Wayne’s restaurant scene is growing, so is its fleet of food trucks. Where that overlaps - is Bravas.

What began as a purveyor of gourmet hot dogs on the street is now a brick and mortar restaurant dedicated to serving up some surprising burgers.

The shop opened Tuesday on Fairfield Ave. in the 46807 neighborhood. 

You can get a burger pretty much anywhere in Fort Wayne. So, why give Bravas Burgers a shot?

“Um. Because they’re more delicious," says Bo Gonzalez.

Courtesy / American Farm Bureau Federation

Your traditional Thanksgiving dinner may be a little less expensive this year.

According to the Indiana Farm Bureau, the average cost of a Turkey Day meal for ten Hoosiers is down to $46.93, the second year in a row the price has dropped.

The Indiana total is also lower than the national average of $49.41, released by the American Farm Bureau Federation Thursday.