A publication of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business
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The Michigan City-LaPorte Metro Story: Told by STATS Indiana

This article is the 13th in a series about Indiana's metropolitan statistical areas (metros). All of the data used in this article can be found using the USA Counties and Metros Side-by-Side feature on STATS Indiana (www.stats.indiana.edu) unless otherwise noted.

The Area

The Michigan City-LaPorte Metro consists of a single county—LaPorte—and is located in northwest Indiana. This county had a population of 110,888 in 2008, making up 1.7 percent of Indiana's population. While Michigan City-LaPorte's population growth (3.6 percent) from 1990 to 2008 hasn't been as fast as Indiana (15 percent) or the United States (22.2 percent), it has still managed to grow. When we look at the population by age data, we see that Michigan City-LaPorte had a higher proportion of people in the older adults categories in 2007 (see Figure 1).

From the Office of Management and Budget: What does it take to make a metro? Metropolitan statistical areas must meet all of the following criteria:
  • counties (or equivalent entities—In Indiana, metros are always made up of counties)
  • at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more people
  • "adjacent territory" with a high degree of social and economic integration with the core. This integration is measured by commuting trends.

All metros in the United States make up about 84 percent of the U.S. population according to the Office of Management and Budget's latest update in November 2008.

Figure 1: Percent of Population by Age Group in Michigan City-LaPorte, 2007

Figure 1: Percent of Population by Age Group in Michigan City-LaPorte, 2007

Source: IBRC, using U.S. Census Bureau data

From 2007 to 2008, the Michigan City-LaPorte metro grew in all three components of population change: net domestic migration, net international migration and natural increase. Indiana as a whole saw a negative net domestic migration (more people moved out of the state than into it) but more than made up for the loss with positive international migration and natural increase numbers.

Jobs and Wages

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one in every five jobs in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro was in the manufacturing industry, compared to 18.9 percent in Indiana and 10.3 percent in the United States. In 2007, there were 191 manufacturing establishments employing 9,230 people paying an average annual wage of $42,697 in the Michigan City-LaPorte metro. As can be expected, health care and social assistance and retail trade were also among the top three industries for jobs in the metro, Indiana and the United States (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Industry Distribution of Jobs in the Michigan City-LaPorte Metro Compared to Indiana and the United States, 2007

Figure 2: Industry Distribution of Jobs in the Michigan City-LaPorte Metro Compared to Indiana and the United States, 2007

Note: Data for wholesale trade and utlities were not available for the Michigan City-LaPorte metro
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data

After adjusting for inflation, wages in Michigan City-LaPorte have increased $865 from 1997 to 2007, a real increase of 2.7 percent. Meanwhile, Indiana’s wages increased 5 percent and the United States experienced an increase in wages of 11.5 percent. Of the industries with data available in the metro (in other words, excluding wholesale trade and utilities), management of companies and enterprises paid the highest wages across all three geographies. Construction and agriculture were the only two industries in the metro to pay higher wages than the U.S. average (see Figure 3). Overall, wages in the metro were about 73 percent of wages in the United States. In Indiana as a whole, wages were 84 percent of the nation's wages.

Figure 3: Average Wages per Job by Industry in the Michigan City-LaPorte Metro, Indiana and the United States, 2007

Figure 3: Industry Distribution of Average Wages per Job in the Michigan City-LaPorte Metro, Indiana and the United States, 2007

Note: Data for wholesale trade and utilities were not available for the Michigan City-LaPorte metro
Source: IBRC, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Commuting Trends

Since the Michigan City-LaPorte metro only consists of LaPorte County, we are able to take a look at the commuting trends data on STATS Indiana. The metro is a net exporter of workers, sending 11,816 workers from LaPorte County to other counties in the United States and bringing in 7,810 workers from elsewhere. Figure 4 shows the top five counties getting workers from LaPorte and the top five counties sending workers into LaPorte County.

Figure 4: Commuting Trends Into and Out of LaPorte County, 2007

Figure 4: Commuting Trends Into and Out of LaPorte County, 2007

Source: STATS Indiana, using Indiana IT-40 tax returns

Two Out of Three Not Great

While the Michigan City-LaPorte Metro's wages increased from 1997 to 2007, the area saw a decline in jobs over the 10-year span as well as a decline in establishments. Meanwhile, Indiana and the United States experienced increases in all three measures. Based on the high percentage of LaPorte's workers in the manufacturing industry, this county seems to be subject to the overall economic restructuring of the manufacturing industry.1

Note

  1. Carol D'Amico and Jerry Conover, "Indiana's Special Sectors Outlook for 2009," Indiana Business Review, November 2008, www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2008/outlook/special-sectors.html.

Molly Manns
Associate Editor, Indiana Business Research Center, Indiana University's Kelley School of Business