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Indiana Economic Growth Gains Momentum

Job Rate at 3-Year Low

- Auto Sector Recovery Continues

- Cooling Global Demand Could Impact Exports

- Housing Still Sluggish



INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA--(Marketwire - June 18, 2012) - Economic growth has gained momentum in Indiana after auto-sector supply chain disruptions tripped up growth early last year, according to the State Monitor Report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics.

Employment growth has remained solid in recent months, with nonfarm payrolls, up 1.9 percent year-over-year in April, outpacing the 1.4 percent national rate. While the state's labor market was relatively hard hit during the recession, recent strength has now recovered more than half of the jobs lost during the down turn. Solid job growth helped pull the jobless rate down to 7.9 percent in April, the lowest level in more than three years.

"Every day, we hear from our commercial customers that they are optimistic about the economic picture in Indiana," said Tim Massey, Regional President for M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. "With our local expertise, sector knowledge and mid-market focus we stand ready to help them find solutions as they invest and upgrade their businesses."

The housing market remains weak in Indiana, with home prices flat year-over-year and 5.5 percent below 2008 peak levels. "However, it's important to note that the peak-to-trough decline in home prices has been more modest than in other regions of the country hard hit by the housing boom and bust," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group.

Exports have lost some momentum, up 6 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012 after robust growth during the past two years. Cooling global demand could have an impact on exports in the near term.

U.S. auto production was up a firm 36 percent year-over-year in May, thanks in part to Honda ramping up output. Toyota plans to boost production at its Princeton plant in 2013.

The February Super Bowl helped boost leisure and hospitality jobs by 1.3 percent in February, the biggest monthly gain in the sector in almost 15 years.

BMO Financial Group announced in 2011 that the company is making an additional $5 billion in business credit available to support the U.S. business-led recovery.

The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics.

About BMO Financial Group

Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 650 branches and approximately 1,350 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

Media Contact:
Beth Copeland
(317) 269-1395
beth.copeland@micorp.com