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Anderson-Madison County, Indiana's largest percentage population loss

Anderson-Madison County Indiana has shifted from being in metro Indy to being it's own MSA. Anderson is 30 miles northeast of Indy on I-69 and about 15 miles west of Muncie. Once a booming factory town, now a struggling shadow of its former self. There are or were 133,000 people in Madison County in 2000.

Madison County deals with population loss
Auto plant closings have left the area with fewer taxpayers, fewer consumers and less money.

By Eunice Trotter
[email protected]

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Patrick Hill sees few of his buddies nowadays. Most of them left town for jobs in other cities after being laid off by auto plants in Madison County.

Hill's friends and the hundreds of others who moved out of Madison County between 2000 and 2004 helped the community land the distinction of losing more population than any other county in the state, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday.

When the plant Hill worked at closed, he returned to school and finished his college degree while working for the union, United Auto Workers Local 662. He now works at Indiana University at Kokomo, though he does not make the $26 an hour he earned working the production line. He makes about $6 an hour less, and his wife also works now.

"We survived," the 32-year-old said of his family. "But a lot of people who lost their jobs have lost their homes. Some of them have property sitting for sale. Some are divorced. Some are having custody battles. This has just caused a lot of heartache and suffering."

In addition to the 2 percent population loss and personal misery, Madison County's diminishing population has created broader consequences.

With fewer residents, there are fewer taxes being paid, fewer people shopping in local businesses, fewer educated people who can help solve community problems, fewer volunteers and contributors to charitable causes, more dependence on public assistance.

As much as Madison County suffers, Hamilton County, its neighbor to the south, is experiencing explosive population growth and prosperity.

According to census estimates, Hamilton County ranked 16th in the country for population growth, gaining 49,000 people in the past four years. Hamilton County had 231,760 residents as of 2004, according to census estimates.

Hendricks County was the only other Indiana county among the 100 fastest-growing counties in the nation, ranking 65th with 19,000 more people now than in 2000, the estimates show.

Statewide, Indiana's population grew by about 3 percent between 2000 and 2004, with most of the growth coming from more births than deaths and people moving to the state from other countries. Besides Hamilton and Hendricks counties, Boone, Hancock, Johnson and Harrison experienced population increases.

Madison County was not alone in losing residents.

Henry, Wayne, Randolph and Rush counties in east-central Indiana also experienced population declines after the loss of manufacturing jobs. So did Grant County. Thomson Consumer Electronics closed last year, putting about 1,000 people out of work.

Widespread population loss also occurred in Newton, Vermillion, Knox and Posey counties along the Illinois border. The drops in Vermillion and Knox are attributed to deaths outnumbering births.

Jobs drive population

People move in or out of a county for a variety of reasons, but the availability of jobs is the top motivation, said Vincent B. Thompson, an analyst with the Indiana Business Resource Center at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

"The places that are having the higher domestic out-migration are having the higher unemployment rates," he said.

In February 2004, Madison's unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, compared with Hamilton's 3.2 percent.

Keith Pitcher, president of the Anderson Chamber of Commerce, said the bleeding may not be over for the city.

There were 9,781 manufacturing jobs in Madison County in 2001, but by 2004 there were 7,180.

"Hopefully, it will soon start bounding back," Pitcher said.

The bounce back could be stalled. Estes Boles, a Local 662 official, said Delphi Corp., an auto components manufacturer, informed the union that the company is planning to cut 500 more jobs in Anderson this summer.


Anderson Councilman Ollie H. Dixon said state and city officials were doing little to stop the bleeding, especially in areas of the city on the westside.

Dixon points to the bumpy streets, boarded-up housing and neglected parks. The unemployment rate there is higher than the city's as a whole.

Citywide, property tax collections are down. With less population, there are fewer people to pay. Manufacturing plants that once dotted the city have been demolished, resulting in lower taxes on those properties.

Tax collections in 2004 in Madison County were short by $9.5 million, or about one-third of the county's $28 million budget.

Madison County Council President Daniel ***** said officials are wrestling with either cutting employee benefits or eliminating seven people's jobs. Even with cuts, a $1.3 million deficit will remain.

Madison County borrowed $2 million from the Indiana Bond Bank to meet its April payroll, but it may not be able to dip into that well again because the county is near its bond bank credit limit.

The impact on Anderson Community Schools, the county's largest school system, also is a big concern. Officials said up to 60 public school teacher positions may be cut.

To turn around the slump and persuade people to stay in or move to Madison County, officials are trying to recruit warehousing and trucking businesses. ***** also said the county wants to lure business from the electronics industry.

Growing pains elsewhere

As Madison struggles to deal with population loss, Hamilton and Hendricks counties are having growing pains, said Christine Altman, president of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

"Obviously with so much housing going in, it is hard to get people from point A to point B," she said, referring to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

With more population there is more demand on the school system at a time when the state is reducing funding for schools, Altman said.

The schools attracted people to Hamilton County, she said.

The quality of the residents attract businesses, she said.

"We have a good work force here. It's highly educated, which makes it easy for headquarters to move in and get the management employees they need.

The picture is not all bleak in Madison County, said John Hagen, former economic development director. Development in Lapel and Pendleton, cities nearest to Hamilton County, has been increasing, with several high-end homes now in Pendleton, he said.

"There is a lot of development in those areas."

Anderson resident Robert L. Roddy Jr., 57, said young men and women graduating from high school or college have little reason to remain in Anderson.

Roddy worked at one of the GM factories after graduating from high school but went into the military and later graduated college with a master's degree and taught school in Atlanta. But when he returned to Anderson in the 1980s, he couldn't find work. He took a job with the U.S. Postal Service in Castleton and retired several years ago.

Now he's worried about what his 20-year-old son will do to make a living and where he will have to go to do it.

"It's disheartening when you want your kids to excel and they can't come home to find opportunities."

279 Posts
Rockford's Boeing Dreamliner Lab Breaks Ground

Hamilton Sundstrand breaks ground on $50 million lab

ROCKFORD -- Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. began construction Monday on a $50 million laboratory that will be used to test components for The Boeing Company's 787 program.

The Airplane Power System Integration Facility will be located at the southeast corner of Plant 6, near Harrison Avenue and Alpine Road. The 12,000-square-foot, two-story building will be ready for operation in early 2006.

About 130 employees work on the 787 program in Rockford. That number is expected to increase to 200 when the lab is fully operational.

Clif Jacobs, vice president and general manager of Rockford's electric systems division, told a crowd of about 200 workers, dignitaries and community leaders the new lab represents a vote of confidence by Sundstrand's parent company, United Technologies Company.

Sundstrand has emerged as one of a few high-level suppliers on the 787 program. The company has nine work-package contracts worth $8 billion to supply components ranging from power generation systems to environmental controls.

When completed, 787 components from all over the world will be sent to Rockford for testing. The new lab will link the various parts together, ensuring they work under hundreds of thousands of scenarios.

Because the lab will be in operation during the service life of the aircraft, it could mean jobs for decades into the future.

Kathryn Whiting, a Boeing executive on the 787 program, said 18 airlines had already made commitments for 200 aircraft. First flight for the airplane, dubbed the Dreamliner, is expected in August 2007.

The lab was designed by Larson & Darby Group. Construction is being managed by Affiliated Construction Services, based in Madison, Wisc. Rockford-based John Fridh & Sons will serve as
the general contractor.

118 Posts
Year to Year Mar 2004- Mar 2005
Des Moines 3.7%
Sioux Falls 3.3%
Indianapolis 2.4%
Kanas City 2.3%
Wichita 2.3%
Minneapolis 1.5%
Omaha 1.3%
Grand Rapids 1.1%
St. Louis 0.9%
Lincoln 0.7%
Milwaukee 0.6%
Cincinnati 0.5%
Columbus 0.5%
Dayton 0.1%
Cleveland 0%
Detroit -1.1%

118 Posts
Whats with Clevelands Cuyahoga County!!

Cleveland Cuyahoga County's 6.4% unemployment rate is with-in spitting distance of Columbus Franklin County and Cincinnati Hamilton Counties 5.7% and 5.9% unemployment rates. Seriously, usually the disparity of shocking when you look at it historically. But now Cleveland, Cincy and Columbus all have nearly same unemployment rates.
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