The Rust Belt reflects much of what's good and bad with the current economy — the industrial market is in the dumps; residential construction is hanging tough; and office construction is spotty and dependent on the local employment picture. With so much of the region's industrial might tied to the auto market, when Motor City sneezes, the rest of the region catches a cold.

Skeptics wonder how long Detroit's automakers can rely on the fumes of zero-percent financing to continue to drive new car sales. Office vacancy rates are ugly in many metropolitan areas; Chicago and Detroit have downtown vacancy rates of over 20 percent, according to Grubb-Ellis.

Still, some new construction projects are pumping some life into the region's economy. Ford Motor Co.'s supplier campus being built near its South Side Chicago assembly plant will have 800 employees by 2003.

ELECTRICAL WHOLESALERS' SALES
(in millions of dollars)
EW Estimates
Final 1998 Final 1999 Final 2000 Final 2001 Forecast 2002 Forecast 2003
East North Central 11,891.6 12,613.3 12,720.1 12,080.6 11,944.9 12,485.3
Illinois 4,507.1 4,899.1 4,940.6 4,692.2 4,639.5 4,849.4
Indiana 1,026.1 1,049.1 1,058.0 1,004.8 9,935.5 1,038.5
Michigan 2,325.4 2,365.3 2,385.3 2,265.4 2,239.9 2,341.3
Ohio 2,590.4 2,743.3 2,766.5 2,627.5 2,597.9 2,715.5
Wisconsin 1,442.5 1,556.4 1,569.6 1,490.7 1,474.0 1,540.7
EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS
Actual EC in thousands
M F/S/RT G
East North Central 132,047 4,012.4 11,547.0 3,127.1
Illinois 38,055 888.6 3,277.0 840.6
Bloomington-Normal MSA 373 7.2 60.8 13.0
Champaign-Urbana MSA 340 12.0 45.5 33.8
Chicago PMSA 29,244 594.2 2,381.5 503.8
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island MSA 1,266 29.9 98.2 27.2
Decatur MSA 320 11.8 28.0 6.6
Kankakee PMSA 183 6.4 24.0 7.4
Peoria-Pekin MSA 712 33.0 93.5 20.3
Rockford MSA 727 45.3 89.4 19.9
Springfield MSA 1,028 4.2 64.0 32.9
Indiana 16,465 624.1 1,446.7 393.5
Bloomington MSA 229 5.9 30.6 18.8
Elkhart-Goshen MSA 422 58.7 39.1 8.5
Evansville-Henderson MSA 832 30.9 82.7 15.9
Fort Wayne MSA 1,153 64.8 130.7 26.8
Gary PMSA 2,056 38.7 136.9 36.4
Indianapolis MSA 6,598 120.7 489.4 109.2
Kokomo MSA 524 17.6 20.1 7.1
Lafayette MSA 398 22.2 39.0 23.4
Muncie MSA 322 8.8 30.1 10.0
South Bend MSA 1,168 20.7 76.9 14.0
Terre Haute MSA 333 11.3 37.2 9.9
Michigan 31,706 919.9 2,372.5 682.0
Ann Arbor PMSA 1,595 51.0 133.5 75.8
Benton Harbor MSA 290 18.8 36.1 9.1
Detroit PMSA 14,230 428.8 1,171.6 242.9
Flint PMSA 890 28.3 88.3 25.0
Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland MSA 4,529 153.2 284.5 57.5
Jackson MSA 870 11.2 33.8 10.4
Kalamazoo-Battle Creek MSA 1,424 47.9 111.1 33.1
Lansing-East Lansing MSA 1,450 25.1 119.4 63.0
Saginaw-Bay City-Midland MSA 816 34.1 95.8 22.4
Ohio 29,779 1,006.2 2,978.7 794.4
Akron PMSA 1,560 59.6 171.7 45.3
Canton-Massillion MSA 983 43.6 100.5 20.8
Cincinnati PMSA 4,723 131.4 503.1 104.2
Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria PMSA 7,259 201.8 643.1 149.1
Columbus MSA 5,787 88.7 523.5 147.9
Dayton-Springfield MSA 2,149 85.9 256.7 74.3
Hamilton-Middletown PMSA 825 20.9 65.2 20.4
Lima MSA 346 17.8 39.4 10.9
Mansfield MSA 286 22.0 38.0 11.8
Steubenville-Weirton MSA 154 12.1 25.8 6.8
Toledo MSA 1,745 57.7 169.5 44.6
Youngstown-Warren MSA 1,009 45.0 129.1 31.5
Wisconsin 16,422 573.6 1,472.1 416.6
Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah MSA 1,206 56.3 94.5 23.6
Eau Claire MSA 347 11.4 43.5 11.3
Green Bay MSA 1,300 28.4 73.6 18.0
Janesville-Beliot MSA 594 17.4 33.4 9.0
Kenosha PMSA 320 11.5 26.6 8.8
La Crosse MSA 320 9.9 NA 10.6
Madison MSA 1,369 30.2 157.3 72.0
Milwaukee-Waukesha PMSA 5,037 159.3 488.7 96.0
Racine PMSA 361 21.2 40.6 10.8
Sheboygan MSA 999 25.1 24.8 6.9
Wausau MSA 401 18.3 32.7 7.7