Obama to find Elkhart County still dependent on RV industry

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By: Tom Coyne Associated Press

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One before his departure at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (Luong Thai Linh/Pool Photo via AP)

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — Elkhart County officials say they haven’t been as successful as they hoped in attracting new businesses since President Barack Obama visited seven years ago during the depths of the Great Recession to highlight his economic policies.

When Obama makes a return trip Wednesday to the community that bills itself as the “RV Capital of the World” he will find it remains heavily dependent on recreational vehicles and is still trying to diversify its economic base. But local officials say the northern Indiana county is better positioned for the next economic downturn because many RV suppliers themselves are more now diversified.

Elkhart County’s unemployment rate spiked to 18.9 percent in March 2009, two months after Obama’s initial visit, and was down to 3.9 percent this past April.