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Indiana's manufacturing sector roars ahead, adding jobs for a sixth straight year

Posted by IndustryNet on Friday, July 14, 2017

100000064_The_All-New_Range_Rover_-_Manufacturing_Shots_(7948064276)According to new data released this week by MNI, manufacturers in Indiana added nearly ten thousand jobs over the past year, buoyed by continued growth in the state’s transportation equipment industry.

According to MNI, compiler and publisher of the industrial information that powers IndustryNet, Indiana gained 9,695 manufacturing jobs from May 2016 to May 2017, or 2%, extending the meteoric rise in factory jobs the state has seen since the recession.

Indiana's post-recession recovery was among the strongest in the nation

Indiana was one of the hardest-hit states during the recession, shedding 16% of its manufacturing workforce or roughly 100,000 jobs, with layoffs and bankruptcies plaguing the all-important auto sector – particularly its RV industry which hit bottom in 2009.

Over the past six years the state’s manufacturing sector underwent a remarkable turnaround, adding jobs at a rate unparalleled by most other states in the nation. According to MNI data, Indiana added 41,357 manufacturing jobs since May of 2011. Roughly half of these gains were seen in the transportation equipment industry, which alone added 22,566 jobs, or 28% to its workforce over the six-year period. Most surprisingly, the state’s RV industry recouped much of its losses, and set new records for shipments.

Low business costs, infrastructure, boosts Hoosier manufacturingIndiana-manufacturing-2017

Indiana boasts the second-lowest business costs in the nation, as well as the second-lowest cost of living according to recent state business rankings compiled by CNBC. It was the first “rust belt” state to become right-to-work back in 2012, which helped it compete with neighboring states in the years following the recession – particularly those in the lower-cost South.

Although many Midwestern states have since enacted right-to-work legislation, Indiana remains a top competitor, scoring big across a variety of site selection factors that go beyond low labor costs.

Indiana’s infrastructure is one of the most well-developed in the nation and its economy is generally robust.Top-notch incentive programs have helped the state draw multiple enterprises to its borders, and have even prevented some existing companies from offshoring, as evidenced by Carrier Corp’s recent reversal of its decision to move its Hoosier operations to Mexico after an unusually generous incentive package was brokered by the state.

Looking Ahead

Recent reports suggest Indiana’s industrial sector will continue to see rapid growth, with auto suppliers Faurecia and M & C Tech Indiana Corp.’s announcing new operations in the state. In addition, Toyota plans to invest $600 million in its assembly plant in Princeton, and RV manufacturer Forest River, Inc. is slated to expand manufacturing in the state with new facilities planned for LaGrange.

However, despite the many benefits of doing business in Indiana, a “skills gap” persists in the state, with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce showing nearly half of Hoosier employers surveyed left jobs unfilled in the past year due to a dearth of skilled workers, and 80% reported finding skilled employees as their main challenge. The Chamber reported a lack of education and training as the main cause of unfilled positions, but that 45% of applicants decline offers of employment based on wage/compensation factors. And, as with most states across the nation, a strong dollar and global competition continue to put a damper on growth.

By the Numbers

Indiana’s 9,498 industrial companies employ 585,504 workers. Employment gains were strongest in Northern Indiana, with manufacturing employment up 3.1% in the state’s Northeast region and up 2.7% in the Northwest. Apart from transportation equipment, which rose by 5% over the past year, employment gains were also reported in lumber/wood products; chemical processing; paper products; food processing; and the stone/clay/glass industry.

Here’s a further breakdown of the numbers:

Indiana’s top five industries in Indiana based on number of jobs:

1. Transportation Equipment: 104,495 jobs
2. Industrial Machinery: 74,476 jobs
3. Fabricated Metals: 57,774 jobs
4. Primary Metals: 48,288 jobs
5. Rubber/Plastics: 45,237 jobs

Indiana’s top five cities for number of manufacturing jobs:

1. Indianapolis: 73,071 jobs
2. Elkhart: 33,387 jobs
3. Fort Wayne: 25,360 jobs
4. Columbus: 16,041 jobs
5. Lafayette: 15,799 jobs

Top Companies

Indiana’s top companies by number of manufacturing jobs are representative of the state’s diverse industrial sector, with a stronghold in steel, automaking and pharmaceuticals.

1. Eli Lilly & Co. (Indianapolis – Global HQ) - 10,157 employees. Eli Lilly is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

2. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Princeton) - 6,100 employees. Toyota produces its Sequoia, Sienna, and Highlander vehicles at this location in Princeton, and recently announced plans to invest $600M to up SUV production.

3. LCI Industries (Global HQ -- formerly Drew Industries Incorporated -- Elkhart) - 5,600 employees. LCI manufactures RV components such as chassis, axels, windows, sound & navigation systems.

4. ArcelorMittal USA, LLC (East Chicago) - 5,020 employees. ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor steelmaking operation in East Chicago serves a number of industries, including automotive and appliances.


MNI’s extensive manufacturing data powers IndustryNet, an industrial marketplace that connects buyers with suppliers. IndustryNet allows users to search and source more than ten thousand types of products, parts, supplies, and services for free. IndustryNet® lists every U.S. manufacturer plus thousands of wholesalers & distributors and industrial service providers. To connect with industrial suppliers in Indiana and across the U.S. start your free search on IndustryNet. Or, to access detailed profiles of Indiana’s 9,498 manufacturers and their 32,633 executives, learn more about MNI’s EZSelect database subscription.

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