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.

The $130-billion merger of chemical and material manufacturing giants Dow and DuPont is now official, nearly two years after it was first announced.

In the next 18 months, the newly created DowDuPont will split into three businesses – for material sciences, specialty products and agricultural chemicals.

The agriculture division stands to affect Indiana the most. Dow AgroSciences has 1,500 workers in Indianapolis, and more at seed and chemical dealerships statewide.

Indiana’s battle to collect online sales tax from businesses that don’t have a physical presence in the state will more likely play out in Congress than in the courts, says one economist.

Indiana does collect sales tax from companies such as Amazon, which has seven distribution centers across five counties.

But the state also wants to tax online retailers including Wayfair and Overstock, which don’t – but still earn more than $100,000 a year from Hoosiers.

New regulations for how big farms handle raw produce won’t affect the hundreds of vendors that sell at Indiana farmers markets.

But small-scale growers still have plenty of rules to follow.

In a trailer at the Lafayette Farmers Market, Graham Rider digs through a freezer stuffed with plastic packages of frozen meat. His family owns Thistle Byre Farm in Burnettsville.

“Here’s our thermometer,” Rider says, pulling it out from beneath totes of ground beef and lamb. “Oh, good. It’s below 20.”

Indianapolis-based shopping mall developer Simon Property Group is suing Starbucks over the coffee chain’s plans to close Teavana stores in malls nationwide.

The lawsuit argues Starbucks doesn’t have grounds to break its leases on 78 Teavana stores at Simon-owned malls, including five stores in Indiana.

Four years after buying the mostly mall-based tea brand, Starbucks said in July it would close down its 379 Teavana stores.

Most of the stores in Simon malls have years left on their leases, according to the lawsuit filed Aug. 21 in Marion County Superior Court.

A trucking company moving from Illinois to Indiana is the latest of dozens of companies that have made that switch in recent years.

It’s a boon to struggling northwest Indiana economies that Indiana officials say is thanks to their state’s business-friendly tax and regulatory structure.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says at least 55 companies have moved some or all of their business from Illinois to Indiana in the past two years. They say that will create more than 5,500 jobs and $610 million in investment.

 

The latest federal employment numbers show jobs growing more quickly in urban areas than rural ones across the country – despite low unemployment across all regions.

Seventy percent of job growth from 2016 to 2017 was in places with more than a million residents, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, rural places still struggled to create new jobs and maintain their workforces.

In Indiana, data shows 29 counties gaining jobs more slowly than the national rate in the past year, and another 23 losing jobs overall.

Purdue University will help train thousands of new Infosys employees in Indiana and nationwide.

The five-year agreement comes as the technology and consulting company readies a new hub in Indianapolis.

For years, Infosys hired mainly visa workers from overseas. The company said in May it’s shifting course, hiring 10,000 American employees – including 2,000 in Indiana.

President Donald Trump disbanded two of his economic advisory councils, after many members resigned in protest of his response to racist violence.

Trump tweeted Wednesday he was “ending” his Manufacturing Council and Strategic & Policy Forum, all made up of CEOs and other industry and workforce leaders.

Among those who resigned from the manufacturing group before that tweet were national AFL-CIO union president Richard Trumka and his chief of staff.

When you drive over a pothole in your neighborhood, you can report it to the city and hope they come fix it soon – or you can fix it yourself. At least, that’s what one Indianapolis man has been doing this year.

Michael Warren’s project, which he calls Open Source roads, reveals a lot about the different ways residents and governments try to care for their communities.

Indiana says it wants to help train train more Hoosier workers for in-demand jobs. Two grant programs will help cover tuition for career certificates and training costs for employers in what the state calls “high-demand” areas.

The legislature approved $10 million apiece over two years for the two programs – the Workforce Ready Grant and the Employer Training Grant.

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