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Elkhart economy booming, wages growing

ELKHART, Ind.-- A new report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average weekly salary in Elkhart County is now $1,006 dollars. 

Jose Hernandez works at Fusion Wood Products and said this boom is helping his quality of life all around.

“My parents used to live here when the recession happened which destroyed a lot of families. A lot of people moved. We moved to Michigan because my dad lost his job. And then we came back because it bloomed again. I make much much better money. I can actually go to college, pay it off. And even a place. I got a better place. My car, I got a new car too. Everythings been great because of the bloom of this sector, said Jose.”

The increase is something that President of Economic Development Corporation, Mark Dobson, says is a welcome change for Elkhart's economy compares to ten years ago. 

“Nearly 20 percent unemployment rate ten years ago. Just ten years ago. I don’t know of another community in the nation who has turned themselves around so rapidly like Elkhart county has," shared Dobson.

Dobson said that rapid turn around has really changed the game in Elkhart.

“At that time, there were 20,000 jobs open. Average wages were in the low teens, even 12 dollars an hour. And now we’re seeing average of course, Bureau of Labor Statistics report that came out, but we’re seeing averages at 24, 25 an hour. So it’s a fabulous turn around in this time.”

Dobson wants to see more people like Jose continue this growth in Elkhart County.

“It’s really a reflection of just the growth of this economy. We are growing at rates double the national economy. But are population is not growing. We’re growing at a traditional Indiana 2 to 3 percent. And so, all those services are feeling the pressure of not enough people." Dobson said.

Jose is excited for what's to come.

“Finish school, and look forward to maybe working here in higher position. Maybe something that I like. I actually enjoy my job here. That’s what I’m looking forward to, to be in a higher position, you know, and make a little bit of money," said Jose.

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