Ball State economist says jobs report indicates economy continues to expand

MUNCIE, Ind. – The latest jobs report is certainly evidence that the aggregate economy continues to expand, despite a very clear slowdown in manufacturing, said Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University.

In October, non-farm payrolls increased by 128,000, exceeding the estimate of 75,000 from economists surveyed by the Dow Jones. Unemployment rose from 3.5 percent to 3.6 percent, hovering at its lowest level over the last half century.

“Recent economic data on goods producing sectors reinforces the growing evidence of a recession-like slowdown in manufacturing,” said Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “However, this jobs report makes clear that jobs are still plentiful and tight labor market nationally continue to sustain modest wage growth.”

“The declining share of the U.S. economy involved in manufacturing, combined with geographic concentration of factory jobs, gives us continued hope that the tariff-driven slowdown won’t cause a nationwide recession,” he said. “Of course, that still indicates a tough year for much of the Midwest as manufacturing continues to contract.”

For more information, contact Hicks at or 765-716-3625.