The Indianapolis Star reported that Elkhart County’s unique reliance on the recreational vehicle industry — nearly 90% of RVs are built there — makes it extremely sensitive not only to the broader U.S. economy, but especially to consumer confidence. When Americans are buying RVs, Elkhart’s economy booms. When people stop buying RVs, jobs evaporate.
Right now, people are buying more RVs than ever. Manufacturers last year shipped a record 504,600 RVs, which was 17.2% more than the year before. As a result, Elkhart’s RV makers are expanding.
This dynamic has caused Elkhart’s unemployment rate to plunge to an absurdly low 2.2%, a number that essentially means anyone capable of working can find a job.
Vice President Mike Pence hyped Elkhart’s economy as part of a Thursday (May 11) rally with President Donald Trump to boost Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, noting Elkhart has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Elkhart’s extreme fluctuations have made it a great backdrop for both the Obama and Trump administrations to share their economic visions.
If anything, Pence might have undersold what’s happening in Elkhart.
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