Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 21, 2013

Elkhart County a leader in GDP gain

By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— GOSHEN — David Daugherty, President of Goshen Chamber of Commerce wasn’t really surprised at the news that the gross domestic product (GDP) percentage increase for Elkhart-Goshen was one of the top gains in the country.

“Maybe the strength of the number surprised me a little bit,” Daugherty said. “The strength of the rebound could be somewhat of a surprise to those related in the RV industry. It has bounced back tremendously and it’s real nice to see.”

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the Elkhart-Goshen GDP grew by 11.4 percent in 2012. Of that rate, 8.5 percent of the growth was fueld by an increase in durable goods manufacturing.

When he hired in as the Chamber of Commerce president, Daughterty said he was told when the economy went down, the RV industry was the first to go.

“And it’s the first to recover when the economy goes up,” he said. “First in and first out.”

Daugherty said local RV manufacturers, including Keystone RV Co. and Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc., have been rebounding since the recession of 2007 and RV suppliers, including Lippert Components Inc. in Goshen, “are all up as well.”

“When the economy is good we are leading the parade and when that happens, everything else in Elkhart County responds accordingly,” Daughter said. “It’s more fun to lead the parade when it comes back. The continued growth should be good for the next couple of years.”

Kyle Hannon, president and CEO of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce said manufacturing is leading the local recovery.

“The manufacturing sector is bouncing back in Elkhart County. We all knew it would happen. This report, and the report showing we lead the country in job growth, prove our point. And they show the strength and character of our economy.”