I keep “taking the temperature” of employment around the state of Indiana, looking for glimmers of good news amidst the economic downturn. As I noted in earlier blogs, layoffs often lead to bankruptcy, while jobs help clients rebuild their lives after bankruptcy.

As was forecast by Indiana University’s Kelly School’s Business Outlook Panel back in November, overall unemployment in Indiana continues to increase. The news isn’t all gloomy, however. As news.yahoo.com puts it, “Even in a recession, some companies are hiring”, pointing to the two million job openings nationwide, many for highly trained professionals.
The openings include spots for pharmacists, engineers, nurses, veterinarians, and even bankers. Jobs are being added in education, healthcare, and government, as well as discount retail. And talk about digging deep – in Sullivan and Vincennes, Indiana, there have been three job fairs in the past two weeks alone, looking for miners to fill $21 an hour positions that include benefits.

At the same time, closings and downsizings continue. Teleservices Direct Inc. is closing its Lafayette call center, eliminating 279 positions, while Pelco Inc., the security systems manufacturing company, plans to close its Indianapolis facility next week, affecting 42 workers. Within two weeks, HHGregg will be closing its 51-employee distribution center in Indianapolis, while Columbus Components Group (in the former Arvin Industries plant), has begun to close down.

In Noblesville, the Firestone manufacturing plant is in the process of closing by June of this year, costing more than 200 positions. Allison Transmission laid off salaried employees at the end of February, a thing that has not happened in more than twenty five years. Sears, after closing its Lafayette store earlier this year, is closing both a Noblesville and another Indianapolis location.

Again on the hopeful side, the Indianapolis Star points out that the stimulus package may mean close to 80,000 jobs for Indiana. None of this will provide an immediate employment “fix”, but in Indiana, federal investment in school construction projects, for example, can mean that “thousands of construction professionals can keep their jobs”, while new jobs would open up as well.

Many of my Indiana bankruptcy clients are the owners of small businesses. I was happy to learn that the stimulus plan includes benefits specifically designed to help small business owners by reducing small business lending fees and by increasing the government guarantee on some Small Business Administration loans to 90%.

Capital and jobs – those are the two ingredients for rebuilding financial lives. I’m no news bureau or employment reporting services. But, as a bankruptcy lawyer serving 38 different counties in our state, I know how important it is for me to keep my blog readers and bankruptcy clients up to date on both these ingredients for recovery.