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.

 

One of every two computer science students at Indiana colleges will leave the state after graduation, according to a recent study.

It has schools such as Purdue University trying new ways to reverse that economic loss, by investing in trendy fields where students want to work – such as virtual reality, or VR.

It’s the next big thing in the video game industry, which is now worth more than the film industry.

 

President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on his criticisms of U.S. trade relationships with China and Mexico, which has some wondering if a trade war is in the works.

Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer says the hallmark of a trade war is retaliation.

For example, higher U.S. taxes on Chinese steel imports could make China chooser to buy fewer American products, including those from Indiana, like soybeans or engine parts.

But DeBoer says even threat of a trade war is already affecting Hoosiers.

East Chicago is one of three Lake County cities receiving an extra $5.6 million from the state to tear down abandoned houses – but the city won’t be able to use the funds to demolish a lead-contaminated public housing complex.

The money comes from the state’s Blight Elimination Program, which distributed millions in 2014 to help towns acquire and demolish vacant homes.

A Minnesota steel company is spending almost $9 million dollars to grow its operations at the Port of Indiana in Burns Harbor, as state officials say they’ll prioritize Indiana ports and infrastructure investment in 2017.

Ratner Steel Supply plans to double the size of its four-year-old operations in Portage, just east of Gary.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says Ratner will add a few dozen jobs and expand its ability to ship steel across the Region.

It's been a few weeks since President-elect Donald Trump celebrated the Carrier company's decision to keep some factory jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico. The deal hinged on $7 million in state tax credits — some of which came from a rarely used fund for job retention. And now it has manufacturers wondering what the deal might mean for them.

Indiana doles out tens of millions of dollars in tax incentives to companies like Carrier every year — but usually those are for creating new jobs, not retaining existing ones.

The Environmental Protection Agency has found unsafe levels of lead in the drinking water of some homes in East Chicago, Indiana.

The city is already grappling with high levels of lead and arsenic found in the soil around homes inside its EPA toxic waste clean-up site, or Superfund.

That contamination came from a former smelting plant in the area. But an EPA spokesman says it’s “not possible for lead from contaminated soil to get into your tap water.”

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President-elect Donald Trump attacked the United Steelworkers union president who represents workers at Carrier in Indianapolis on Twitter Wednesday night.

Chuck Jones heads up Steelworkers local 1999, which includes the Indianapolis Carrier and Rexnord factories. Both have come under fire from Trump for sending some jobs to Mexico.

 

Michiana’s Native American tribe has begun construction on the first tribal casino in Indiana, just days after receiving sovereign status on 166 acres of land in South Bend.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians plans to build tribal housing and government facilities on its new land, too.

But tribal chair John Warren says the casino will play a central economic role when it’s completed in early 2018.

 

As part of its deal with President-elect Donald Trump to retain some Indiana jobs, Carrier pledged to invest $16 million dollars in its Indianapolis factory.

But that investment will go toward automation, according to Carrier parent company CEO Greg Hayes.

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