Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Speaks in Northeast Indiana

September 17th, 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans spoke to more than 100 business and economic development leaders about the nation’s economic outlook on Friday, Sept. 14 at Sweetwater Sound. The event was hosted by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute, the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, Northeast Indiana Works and the NIIC.

Evans addressed key economic indicators including wages, labor force and inflation.

As Northeast Indiana works to increase per capita personal income against the national average, grow regional population to 1 million residents and raise educational and credential attainment by the year 2030, Evans’ outlook provides insight into national trends and how they may affect the region’s economy.

“While wage increases have been disappointingly low, more and more of my business contacts—including those in Indiana—say they are willing to increase compensation to hire or keep qualified workers. So, I expect tighter labor markets to lead to higher wage growth before too long,” said Evans.

Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership President and CEO John Sampson said the information learned in the economic outlook is encouraging.

“Hosting a Federal Reserve Bank president for discussion with our regional business and economic development leaders means a great deal to Northeast Indiana. This region has significant momentum, and we appreciate the opportunity to learn from President Evans about the macroeconomic outlook, while at the same time providing local feedback and taking part in the discussions shaping the country’s monetary policy,” said Sampson.

Six national facts from the presentation:

  1. Job gains – Over the course of 2017, job gains averaged over 180,000 per month, and they have risen to average over 200,000 per month so far this year.
  2. Business capital spending – Business capital spending has been another source of strength in the economy, having risen more than 6-3/4 percent at an annual rate over the first half of the year.
  3. Residential investment – Residential investment, which had been on a modest uptrend since 2010, has flattened out over the past year and a half as mortgage rates have moved up. Still, at about 4-1/2 percent, the level of mortgage rates is not very high by historical standards.
  4. Gross domestic product (GDP) – Evans expects GDP growth in 2018 to be in the neighborhood of 3 percent. He anticipates growth will slow down in 2019 and 2020, as the fiscal bump wears off and typically cyclical dynamics—including the normalization of monetary policy—result in activity settling into its long-run sustainable path. His staff estimates that the growth rate of GDP along this path is slightly under 2 percent.
  5. Unemployment – Evans expects the unemployment rate will decline further to about 3.5 percent by the end of 2020, almost a full percentage point below his staff’s estimate of what economists call its natural rate.
  6. Inflation – Core consumer inflation, which cuts through much of the statistical noise in overall prices, averaged only 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2017— well below the Federal Reserve’s symmetric 2 percent target. However, core inflation picked up earlier this year and has been running close to 2 percent since last March.

Evans also solicited feedback and spoke with business leaders during two private roundtable events held in Fort Wayne and Warsaw.

“It is extremely helpful to me to connect with the community and business people to hear what is on their minds and how the economy is doing from their perspective. That acts as additional information so that we can understand how Main Street is performing relative to our own assessment of the economy,” said Evans.

Media is encouraged to publish photos from the event, which can be found be found online.

Visit the website for more information about the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or President Evans. To read more Northeast Indiana news, visit www.neindiana.com/news.

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. Founded in 2006, the public-private partnership strives to build a globally competitive region. The Partnership’s Vision 2030 framework supports collaborative regional efforts to increase per capita income, population growth and educational attainment by focusing on business attraction, talent attraction and talent development. The Partnership represents 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.


Kate Virag
Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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