GOSHEN, Indiana—When you see a recreational vehicle on the highway or in a campground, there's a good chance it came from this area of north-central Indiana: almost half of RVs on the road today were made in Elkhart County.
So when the recession hit and RV sales plunged (down 58 percent from 2006 to 2009) unemployment here soared to the highest in the nation: a staggering 20.9 percent in March 2009, when the nationwide unemployment was 8.7 percent.
But as the economy recovers, sales have come roaring back, rebounding 72 percent from 2009 to 2012.
At CampingWorld in Santa Clarita, Calif., business is booming.
"Month after month, sales continue to go up," said general sales manager Beau Bixey. "I have more people walking around asking questions than I have sales people for."
And that's good news for RV makers in Elkhart County, where the jobless rate stood at 9.4 percent in March, closer to the national average of 7.6 percent.