Chesterton Tribune


Report shows less than half of RDA project workers from NWI

Back to Front Page




The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority released a special report this week that says less than 50 percent of it jobs created on special construction projects are held by Porter and Lake County residents.

According to a “Buy Indiana Special Summary” report prepared by Organizational Development Solutions, Inc., from a total of 932 employees on the jobs, only 479 are from Lake/Porter counties, about 48.8 percent.

Porter County RDA jobs however have a stronger proportion with 68 jobs belonging to local residents out of 122, or about 56 percent.

The three other assessed areas included Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond/Whiting in Lake County where 87 percent of the jobs are.

Gary saw new 465 jobs with 279 local employees, or roughly 60 percent. East Chicago has a mere two jobs created with one of those jobs held by a NWI resident, 50 percent.

But the figures for Hammond/Whiting is where only about 34 percent of 393 RDA jobs there belong to locals (131 jobs).

RDA officials said they expect the proportion of Lake/Porter residents employed to be augmented in the next construction season.

The “Buy Indiana” report did show that even though companies are not hiring as many workers from Lake/Porter counties, a strong majority of companies on RDA projects are based in Northwest Indiana.

Of the total 214 companies utilized, 161 are local, more than 75 percent. Hammond/Whiting reports 83 percent of companies are NWI based, Gary shows 69.3 percent and East Chicago shows 100 percent. But Porter County had the lowest percentage of NWI companies being utilized with 53.3 percent (57 out of 107 companies).

Earlier this week, the RDA issued a press release of a separate study done by Policy Analytics LLC, an independent economic research firm based in Indianapolis, that reports the agency will have made more than a $1.1 billion impact on the local economy by 2015 since its inception in 2006.

The Return on Investment Analysis indicates that for every dollar spent by the RDA, the region sees a return of $5.11.

The ROI study was conducted at the request of the RDA and showed that the approximately $210 million the agency invested to date in shoreline redevelopment, the Gary/Chicago International Airport, commuter transportation and economic development has created or supported more than 2,000 jobs in Northwest Indiana.

“All of our investments are catalytic in nature and are designed to attract new businesses and improve our quality of life,” said Bill Hanna, president and CEO of the RDA. “So they will continue to generate additional return on investment in the years to come.”

By 2025, the RDA’s investments are projected to generate $770 million in economic output annually (in 2012 dollars). This increased economic output in 2025 will support approximately 4,000 jobs in the Lake and Porter County region. More than 2,000 of these jobs will be supported by industrial and commercial investment in and around the airport. The increase in economic activity and employment will increase personal income in NWI by an estimated $383 annually.

Other highlights in the ROI analysis report include:

• Shoreline Construction activity is projected to generate $425 million in economic output and a total of 891 jobs in 2012. This includes 475 direct jobs in construction-related industries, 145 indirect jobs from supply chain purchasing, and 270 induced jobs from increased household spending. Over the course of the planned construction period, 2007-2014, one dollar in RDA contribution results in $3.47 of local impact throughout the economy.

• By 2025, the ongoing economic impact of the shoreline development projects funded currently are projected to generate a combined $93 million annually in total economic output to the NWI region. The total amount of projected disposable personal income in the region is estimated to increase by approximately $91 million ($140 per capita) annually, and the total annual employment impact is projected at 1,010 jobs by 2025.

• The Gary/Chicago International Airport runway extension is projected to generate $277 million in total economic impact over the course of the runway extension project. At its peak, this will generate approximately 1,040 annual jobs. Because of the type of investment, a majority of jobs will be concentrated in construction-related industries, but approximately 475 jobs will be produced in industries throughout the economy from indirect and other household spending.

• These jobs will generate an estimated $56 million in labor income in 2013. Overall, $1 of RDA investment in the Garyairport runway extension project will generate $5.32 in total economic output.

• Ongoing airport and business operations are projected to result in approximately 2,430 new jobs for NWI by 2025. The same activity is projected to generate $527 million in economic output and $169 million in disposable income.

• Based on the economic modeling done for this report, the total State sales and income taxes generated by the RDA’s investments will total $8.3 million annually by 2015, and $23.8 million by 2025. Although the fiscal impacts for local units of government in increased property tax and excise tax revenue are beyond the scope of this analysis, the RDA is certainly having an impact on the revenue streams of the local governments throughout the region.

“We have only taken our first steps in transforming the region,” Hanna said. “There remains a great deal of work to be done. It is imperative that the RDA and public and private officials continue to work together to capitalize on Northwest Indiana’s geographic advantage, including its proximity to Chicago, the Lake Michigan shoreline and its position as a transportation and logistics hub. We have tremendous momentum right now and are positioning the region for growth as the national economy recovers.”

A copy of the report can be found on the RDA’s website,



Posted 11/23/2012