Labor, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Home Owning: Housing Reflects Economic Health

Ethan Horst Grace College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Paulette Sauders Grace College
Housing is a key indicator of labor health, as a mix of social and economic factors drive low-skilled workers to available and desirable housing independent of pay scale. This research paper examines why there are so many job openings in the food service and retail industries in Kosciusko County, in northern Indiana, when the unemployment rate is under 3%. The common sense solution is a simple supply-demand curve between the two largest competing job markets for hourly labor in Kosciusko County: the retail/food service and the manufacturing sectors. However, there are other factors the simple supply-and-demand alternative does not consider: the way that the housing market and social influences affect market forces like demand and the break-even point. Because low-cost housing in Warsaw is scarce, the paper explores the influences that the supply and demand of housing have on the labor market through examining existing academic research about the intersection of the two markets. The text also includes insights from experts in the Kosciusko County economy: Rob Parker, the CEO of Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Alan Grossnickle, the director of the Gordon Institute for Enterprise Development. The paper shows the forces that determine the supply-and-demand metrics of the labor market go beyond job availability and monetary compensation. The housing availability and housing desirability change the demand for jobs. Geographic location and governmental assistance are key factors in labor markets. The paper offers suggestions for improvement, along with current strategies employed by the Chamber of Commerce.
Communication & Media Studies
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:30 AM
Jordan Hall 236