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Stories From Rural America

The Walkerton Page

This e-magazine is devoted to the Walkerton lifestyle!  It is full of articles about people who inspire others, places that fill our hearts with memories, and things that impress our minds!   The voices of rural people whose values, and commitments reflect the attitudes of the region and Nation!  The Michiana Community is a dynamic center with devoted, talented citizens who fuel the economy based on heavy industry, especially as connected to the automobile industry. 

 In 1960, 41% of the employment was in manufacturing, followed by 17% in hospitality 8% in business services, 6% in transportation, 5% in education and 5% in agriculture, with healthcare at 4% and government at 2%. Deindustrialization had a major impact after 1970, and by 2013, only 27% of the employment was in manufacturing, 20% was in hospitality, 12% in healthcare, 11% in government, 8% in business services, 5% in transportation, and 4% in education. In 2013, three of the top 10 Michiana employers were in the Elkhart area and focused on recreational vehicles, trailers and related products, including Forest River with 7600 employees, Thor Industries with 7500, and Drew industries with 4700. Many hospitals were consolidated, as health spending doubled and tripled. By 2013 three health systems were among the top 10 employers: Beacon Health System (7000 employees; based in Elkhart and South Bend); Lakeland Regional Health System (4100 employees; based in St. Joseph and Niles), and Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (2700; based in Mishawaka and Plymouth). In the educational sector, the University of Notre Dame had 5700 employees, and the South Bend Community School Corporation had 3000. Whirlpool Corporation, the appliance maker, with 3400 employees, is based in Benton Harbor. Martin's Super Markets operated 21 grocery stores in the region with 3100 employees.  

With the loss of manufacturing, per capita income in Michiana has declined from 105% of the national average in 1960 to 82%. But, the metal casting industry continues to modernize and improve!  Today, the Walkerton Area is on the move again!  Just like the rest of Michiana!  Times are changing.  There is a Country lifestyle that offers everything to everyone!

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