IU business experts predict challenging year ahead

Business experts with Indiana University say that there is a large amount of uncertainty in next year’s outlook for Columbus, with possibilities ranging from moderate to bad and to worse.

The Indiana University Division of Business at IUPUC hosted its annual Indiana Business Outlook Panel at the Commons yesterday. It featured professors Jennifer Lynn Rice, with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University; Ryan Brewer, with IUPUC; and Phil Powell, with the Indiana Business Research Center. Along with a local outlook by Jason Hester, with the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation.

Citing challenges including continuing high inflation, rising interest rates and other disruptions, the panelists said it was hard to guess what will happen. But they agreed that a recession seems likely, which could deliver a blow to the auto and related industries, which is the heart of Columbus’ economy. That could lead to rising unemployment here.

Powell said that one of the first signs of how bad things might get will be consumer demand during the upcoming Christmas season. If you start seeing stories about low spending by shoppers, it would be bad news for the economy, he said.