(UNDATED) - An annual Wage & Benefit Survey conducted by economic development organizations in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben Counties is offering some positive results. 89% of the companies reported hiring within the last six months with nearly 1,700 new hires in the four counties. In addition, 64% of those surveyed plan to increase employment this year and 38% believe they will increase employment in 2015 as well. Wages are also increasing. 89% of those surveyed say they have had wage increases in the last 12 months and 86% plan on increasing wages again next year. 72 employers participated in the third annual survey. The data can be used by economic development officials to help companies recruit talent and to encourage retention and expansion of local industries. The information can also be used to market the area to businesses looking to locate in northeast Indiana.