Annie Ropeik

IPBS Economy Reporter

Annie Ropeik is the economy and business reporter for the Indiana Public Broadcasting network, based at WBAA. She’s covered farming, fisheries and other industries at public radio stations from Massachusetts and Delaware to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and earned accolades from the Alaska and Delaware Press Clubs for her reporting on rural business issues. Originally from Silver Spring, Md., Annie has a Hoosier mother and a degree in classics from Boston University. She also performs a mean car concert, boasts a worryingly encyclopedic knowledge of One Direction lyrics and is a Hufflepuff.

At Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, 2,300 employees will take buyouts as part of the company’s effort to save money by cutting at least 2,000 jobs in the U.S. by the end of the year.

It’s unclear whether layoffs are still in the works in the Hoosier state.

Lilly said in September it would aim to save $500 million by cutting 3,500 jobs out of its more than 41,000 worldwide, with at least 2,000 cut in the U.S.

President Donald Trump is Japan this week and told Japanese business leaders they should make more cars in the U.S., and import less. He also thanked companies that already do business in America, including ones with a huge footprint in Indiana.

Stakeholders in Indiana are already weighing the GOP tax plan’s potential effect on workers.

Indiana Manufacturers Association lobbyist Andrew Berger says the plan’s most important pillar is its 20 percent corporate tax rate. He says it’ll let businesses make decisions about growing and investing based on what really matters.

“Not, ‘how do I best effectuate my tax liability?’” he says. “That’s what we’re trying to get out of this investment decision-making process.”

In our series on the Ports of Indiana, we’ve seen steel and manufacturing hubs on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. Today, we go to Indiana’s truest river port – Mt. Vernon, outside Evansville. It’s the highest-traffic port in the system, helping move processed grain, coal, and more all around the world. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Annie Ropeik reports it’s also more susceptible than any other state port to the fallout from shifts in federal policy.

Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan port will get nearly $10 million from the federal government for infrastructure upgrades to boost its capacity.

The port of Burns Harbor is spending nearly $20 million total to add rail miles and railcar storage, truck handling facilities, dock space and a new cargo terminal. The U.S. Department of Transportation FASTLANE grant will contribute to that.

Indiana’s corn harvest is still 10 percent behind schedule as of this week, with soybeans about on track as a year of difficult farming conditions stretches into November.

The unpredictability of this year’s weather may be an unwelcome new normal for Hoosier agriculture, according to Purdue University agronomist Bob Nielsen.

In 2017, Indiana has seen a wet spring and long planting season, an over-warm start to fall and now, rains that are lengthening the multi-billion-dollar grain harvest. Nielsen says data shows extremes like those are becoming increasingly standard.

Indiana reportedly won’t be the location of a new Toyota-Mazda plant slated for construction in the U.S. in the next few years.

The South Bend Tribune reports economic development officials in St. Joseph County announced this week that Indiana had been dropped from consideration.

The first stop in our series on the Ports of Indiana was Burns Harbor, an international maritime facility in the heart of steel country. Four hours down Interstate 65, the Port of Jeffersonville is less a port and more a manufacturing hub that happens to be on the Ohio River.

For the next part of our series, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Annie Ropeik reports Jeffersonville is pushing ahead with expansions to cement its place in the Midwest industrial corridor.

Indiana grain farmers are hustling to keep up with harvest as fall progresses.

The soybean crop is on pace with the five-year average as of this week, according to the USDA. But corn is less than half harvested, which is well below average for this time of year.

That’s put large operations like White Oak Farms in Putnam County under the gun to get their corn out of the field before it spoils.

Indiana’s recommended rates for workers compensation insurance will continue a multi-year decline in 2018. Officials say the nearly 13 percent drop in their benchmark rate for insurers is due to fewer workers’ comp claims and on-the-job injuries.

Indiana companies have to carry workers’ comp insurance to cover medical bills and lost wages for employees who get hurt on the job. But different jobs have different risks – you’re more likely to get hurt at a factory than behind a desk.

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