New report raises troubling questions about Hoosier health

While economic momentum continues in portions of Indiana, a new report card issued by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce shows several challenges that need both short-and-long-term attention.

Among the findings in the chamber’s Vision 2025 Report Card and workforce survey: not enough skilled workers to meet economic needs; high rates of smoking and obesity that prove costly and impact quality of life; rising electricity prices; and a lack of statewide entrepreneurial activity and venture capital.

The report compares the 50 states on more than 60 metrics related to talent, business climate, infrastructure, and culture.

“There are a number of positive developments – both taking place every day and in our latest research – that are cause to celebrate,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “But it is also evident that a lack of workers, unhealthy lifestyle choices and limited Indiana-based funding to grow promising companies is keeping the state from realizing its full potential.”

Overall, though, Indiana did better than in the 2015 Report Card. Some of the state’s top performances include: Business regulation, exports and early education and national assessment testing, though the education gains are countered by a lack of workers in critical areas, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The report estimates that unhealthy lifestyle choices among Hoosiers comes with a $6 billion annual price tag as a result of increased health care costs and lost productivity. Indiana’s adult smoking rate remains at 39th overall, but has improved to 20.6%. Indiana also jumped 6 spots to 36th in adult obesity.

For a strong manufacturing state, Indiana ranks in the middle for electricity prices, ranking 29th for industrial customers and 26th for commercial customers.

For more information on the Vision 2025 Report Card, click here.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb released the following statement in response to the report card:

(Photo supplied/Gov. Eric Holcomb)