GREENSBURG – Since November 2012, Decatur County has added jobs at a faster clip than all of its neighbors, thanks primarily to the recovering automotive and housing sectors.
Between November 2012 and November 2013, the county added 944 jobs, for a growth rate of 8.3 percent, besting all of its neighbors, including Bartholomew County, which gained 2,369 jobs, for a job growth rate of 6.1 percent, according to data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Decatur County’s unemployment rate in November, at 6.5 percent, was down nearly 2 percentage points from a year earlier. The rate tied for 28th-lowest among the state’s 92 counties. Dubois County had the lowest rate, at 5.2 percent. Fayette and Vermillion had the highest, at 9.9 percent. The state average was 7.2 percent.
Marc Coplon, executive director of the Greensburg/Decatur County Economic Development Corp., said that the local economy is improving, judging by the participation of employers at job fairs, the help wanted signs posted around the city and by companies announcing expansions.
Coplon said that one of the more exciting developments from last year was the expansion announcement of Delta Faucet, both from a jobs perspective and because it boosted Decatur County’s regional reputation.
The housing market recovery prompted significant growth at Delta Faucet’s Greensburg operation, an unexpected turnaround for a plant that seemed to be nearly defunct. Coplon said that the company employed about 1,100 at its peak, but employment had fallen to about 140 a few years ago, as some of the jobs were moved to a new plant in Tennessee, and the housing crisis shrank demand.
But last year, Delta invested $11 million in new machinery and $1.5 million in upgrades to its building on the west side of Main Street. The company obtained a five-year tax abatement for the new investments, which means it will pay no property taxes in the first year (on the new investment), but taxes will rise in subsequent years until the company has to pay the full amount.