Sunday’s (11/9/2014) South Bend Tribune featured an interesting article written by Kevin Allen about the economic in the Michiana Area. In the article, Allen wrote about the recovery and then the back step South Bend/Mishawaka took in 2013. That was compared to the significant downturn Elkhart had in the recession but then the dramatic turnaround that took place from 2010 to 2013.
Interesting to note was the GDP of each city in 2013. South Bend/Mishawaka GDP was $12.7 billion while Elkhart’s was $11.7 billion. These numbers are very close to one another. SB/Mishawaka has significantly more population than Elkhart, but Elkhart has the majority of manufacturing employers, especially those in the RV industry.
The article was comparing the economies of the two cities that share a border. As Jim Skillen of Newmark Grubb Cressy & Everett points out, it is best to consider the entire region as a whole. If people can forget about that “invisible border between the counties called Ash Rd” and think about the area as a large economic force, Michiana is truly a dynamic and powerful engine. Elkhart has the large manufacturing and distribution base and South Bend and Mishawaka have strength in the retail and office market. Workers from Elkhart shop and seek entertainment in South Bend and Mishawaka, bringing their spending money with them. Other Elkhart residents find their employment in either South Bend or Mishawaka and make their short commute. Many people work, shop and live in each of the three different cities. The point is to consider the entire market as a region. We should all rejoice when Elkhart adds another manufacturing business or when Mishawaka lands a new Costco. Elkhart should support research and development companies locating in South Bend. Never fear, the economic progress in any one of the cities will benefit the entire region and everyone in it. Let’s just agree each city has it’s focus and strength, accept it and continue to improve upon it.