Forecast: Local economy to see GDP dip in 2024

The local economy will be bolstered next year by a strong manufacturing base, but will see some drag by the continued difficulty getting workers with a shrinking population, according to predictions at the IU Economic Outlook Panel held yesterday.

Dr. Steven Mohler with IU Columbus gave the local forecast, saying that local Gross Domestic Product will likely shrink by 2 to 5 percent next year.

Mohler said that the Columbus metropolitan area has the strongest manufacturing base of any of the other metros in the state. He said that since 2001 manufacturing has made up an average of more than 50 percent of the local GDP.

Mohler said Cummins continues to be the largest influence on local manufacturing. The company’s sales have increased from about $6 billion in 2001 to $28 billion in 2022 – a five fold increase.

He said the supply chain will continue to be affected by global disruptions ranging from geopolitical disturbance to cyberattacks.

Mohler said the local population actually declined in 2020 and still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. But he said that a bright spot is neighboring communities who provide 7 to 8 thousand workers commute into Bartholomew County.

The panel was put on by the IU Columbus business department and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.