RV industry in Elkhart County ends 2016 on strong rebound

(Sam Householder/Elkhart Truth)

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — The recreational vehicle industry, which drives the economy of Elkhart County, came back strong in 2016 and industry leaders are optimistic about next year.

The Elkhart Truth reports unemployment peaked in Elkhart County at 19.6 percent in 2009 as the RV industry was shedding jobs and struggling to stay afloat during the Great Recession.

The industry has since shown resiliency. The county had an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent this year, and potential customers have more disposable income.

Paul Campbell with Nappanee-based Gulf Stream Coach Inc. says the industry’s growth shows there’s an active market for the products.

Bob Martin, chief executive officer of Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc., says the financial difficulties have shown that the industry is capable of coming back stronger.

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