We have always had industry based on the hardwood forests here, but they are all in trouble. Paramount Plywood, 300 jobs, in New Albany closed 4 or 5 years ago, due to offshoring, and Kimball Furniture, 120 jobs, cut back by half at that time. (The same Kimball that makes pianos.) Kimball now has cut production at a separate plant in our town and sent the business to Maylasia. Childcraft (baby furniture), 110 jobs, closed last year, as did Link Handle, 40 jobs, (hammers, axes, shovels, etc.). Loggers are some of my repair business, and telll me that all they can sell is crating and skid lumber. One Sawmill, 8 jobs, in town shut down for part of the summer. There is a high quality hardwood flooring manufacturer, 15 jobs, who is still in business, but running about 2/3 capacity. That company had one of their customers go bankrupt last summer, which was 20% of their business, and died owing them about $50,000.
Tecumseh Products had a plant here that made transaxles for lawn mowers. It was running slow, and they sold it with the inference that all the existing contracts went with the sale, but it turned out the contracts did NOT, so they have now business except one possible contract with Sears. If that fails, they will close this month. 150-200 jobs there.
The auto industry has been big in Indiana for a long time, and many people here commuted to Louisville, KY to the Ford truck and Ford Explorer plants, both of which have had layoffs and 6 week long shutdowns. The Explorer is not on the build schedule for next year, and the survival of that plant hinges on getting money to retool to make small cars. KY has offered big tax breaks to try to keep the 3,200 jobs in town.
In our town (Salem) there is an auto parts maker that has cut back by 12 jobs/shift last year plus 12 of the MOST senior salaried employees (I used to work there--that would have got me), or, a total of 48 jobs lost out of about 200 hourly and 50 salaried jobs. They are currently planning more cuts if car sales stay low. Based on my experience there, I'd guess they are looking at eliminating about another 50+ jobs.
On the other hand, we have a newly built strip mall, apparently half of it leased upon completion! (Suntan City, a Mexican restaurant, and a Subway) Jaycee just completed doubling their grocery size into a WalMart sized store last summer, but there are few customers, and store people chase you down the aisle trying to "help" you. Half a dozen small mortgage brokers died this past year--good riddance.
Real estate people have gotten jobs at WalMart, and a couple restaurants went bust. Contractors tell me that they have ZERO houses to build, and are only doing some farm work. My repair shop is slower due to loss of hobbyist projects, and only the absolutely necessary work from farmers, and almost none from loggers.
NOT a pretty picture. I don't think this thing has a good start yet.
PS--A few people commute from here to Columbus, IN to work at Cummins Engine, but they laid off the entire 3rd shift, and cut back on 2nd shift. They make light truck engines, such as the Dodge pickup. Their build schedule used to be about 115/day, and is now down to 110 per week.
Local fix-it guy..