In the summer last year, the Indiana University East Business and Economic Research Center (the BERC), the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County (the EDC) and the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce (the chamber) partnered together to research the business climate and related business needs of the county.
The purpose of this survey was to enhance the knowledge of the local businesses and companies with regard to doing business in Wayne County and to assist further local and regional economic studies conducted by the BERC. Results will also aid the EDC and the chamber for consideration as part of any future strategic planning and economic development efforts to facilitate a healthy business climate in Wayne County.
The survey was sent to over 300 Wayne County business executives across a wide spectrum of industries including professional services, manufacturing, information technology, retail trade, banking and financial services, and health care. There were 85 surveys completed from June 15 to June 26, 2015. The survey was broken down into sections including demographics, employment, business climate, and business performance and expectations. Of the respondent firms, more than 60 percent have been in business in the county for 20 years or more, and most of them are small size businesses.
Results in the employment section reveal the county businesses’ hiring trend and projection, their recruiting methods, the work skills/abilities they expect from the applicants, their difficulties in recruiting and the job positions that are harder to fill as well as their employee training options.
As far as the business climate in the county, respondents rated their opinions on several social and economic factors. They are more satisfied with utility reliability, colleges/universities, financial services, opportunity for local financing, healthcare services, and quality of life in Wayne County. In contrast, more respondents are unsatisfied with workforce availability, workforce quality, wage rates and utility rates. With regard to the overall business climate in Wayne County, a large majority of respondents provided a rate of good.
Respondents highlighted four major areas to enhance the business environment in Wayne County, including attracting more people to reside in the county, offering incentives to young professionals to work in the county, providing support to continuing workforce education and improving quality of life.
Business executives were fairly optimistic about the future of business in Wayne County, according to survey results.
This project would not have been so successful without the support and contribution of the EDC and the Chamber.
“This collaborative effort between the IU East School of Business and Economics, the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation will establish the foundation for more efforts in the future,” said David Frantz, the dean of School of Business and Economics.
The survey report is available on the BERC website at iue.edu/business/berc/.
For more information, contact the Director of the Business and Economic Research Center and Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance Litao (Lee) Zhong, Ph.D., at (765) 973-8289 or the Principal Researcher of the Business and Economic Research Center and Associate Professor of Finance Oi Lin (Irene) Cheung, Ph.D., at (765) 973-8497.