Indiana Amish business blooms?

“Amish see the recession as a challenge and a blessing” by Allison Linn at msnbc.com is a well-done article about the northern Indiana Amish economic situation which shows anecdotal evidence of elevated entrepreneurial activity in the community.

This includes the increased presence of Amish vendors at an annual woodworking exhibition as well as established entrepreneurs reporting greater interest from would-be businesspeople.  Interest in business loans is apparently up among Amish as well.

The region, heavily dependent on the RV industry, has been walloped by the recession.

In March, the area recorded an unemployment rate–at nearly 19%–over twice national levels.  Unemployment remains high.  The most recent numbers I can find–from June–show Elkhart County at 16.8%, and Lagrange at 15.8%.

Yet Amish seem to be making out alright.  “Of all the people that got laid off, I can’t think of one Amish person I know that is out of a job and is at a place where he doesn’t know what to do,” says one Amish informant in the article.

Reliance on the wisdom of experienced mentors is one key reason for success among Amish businesses.

Other recent posts on the northern Indiana Amish:

A ‘pivotal time’ for Northern Indiana Amish

Steven Nolt on Indiana Amish

Amish Furniture in Indianapolis

The northern Indiana Amish and the RV blues

Amish Furniture-Indiana

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    5 Comments

    1. Well I can see where the amish or any person if they really wanted could find some kind of employment in these times. I never lacked for a job when I did work but then again we always tried to live below our means so didn’t need a real huge paycheck to make it through okay.

    2. Even as much as I am a proponent of higher education, I think this is a good example of their work ethic and support for their defense of an 8th grade education being all they need. I’m impressed because I think it would be tougher in a rural setting to find a job that would support a family. Obviously not impossible, but just difficult in the economy. Great post!

    3. Good article & information – thanks for the insights. We’ve been working with Amish woodworkers for years at http://www.dutchcrafters.com/ and I can vouch for their work ethic and integrity as fundamental ingredients for their success formula in business. However, like everyone else, there is a variance in the success rates of the woodworkers that we do business with. It is largely determined by the character of the individuals.

    4. Bill

      I purchased a bent oak rocker not too long ago and was told by the builder that the economy has slowed his rocker business quite a bit. He farms also but he’s feeling the pinch. So I can see how things can be tough all the way around, even if you’re offering goods and/or services at reasonable prices, if people aren’t spending there’s just not much work.

    5. Beverly

      Unemployment Numbers

      It is in these articles we get a look at the real unemployment numbers. Shadow Stats, a site that uses “old fashioned math” versus the “new math” places overall unemployment at about 22-25%. People like our daughter “don’t exist” as she’s fallen out of any arena for being counted as jobless. However in our house we’re taking a page from the Amish and trying small enterprises and cutting back even more on “luxuries”. Hope the computer can hang on! The TV is now limited to what’s still “free”. I make gift baskets from local products and sell them to still running local businesses for employee perks. My daughter is also helping me in the expanding garden. We’ve also started making holiday decorations out of local materials that we will sell where we can. We have combined generational forces as a household in one of those big “McMansions” so several of us are on Social Security and one has a more or less guaranteed income, still we feel it would be better to put our money into our land, (you can raise an amazing amount on 1/3 acre), and our local economy. The Amish quality of farming will be a beacon for many as we return to conventional farming.