Indiana Leads in Manufacturing, but Challenges Persist

A new report card by Conexus Indiana contains some interesting findings regarding manufacturing in Indiana. On a positive note, the state ranks above average in terms of its global position. However, Indiana earns subpar marks for human capital:

Indiana continues to boast the strongest manufacturing economy in the nation, and is a leader in attracting foreign manufacturing investment – but long-term weaknesses in its workforce will undermine these advantages unless bold action is taken.

These are among the observations made in the second-annual ‘Indiana Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card,’ released by the Conexus Indiana initiative. The report card was discussed at a breakfast event hosted by Conexus in Indianapolis, which also featured a program focused on Indiana’s ‘clean technology’ sector, which offers manufacturing opportunities in areas like hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced battery technologies.

“Manufacturing has been the primary source of economic growth and jobs in Indiana for generations,” said Steve Dwyer, President & CEO of Conexus Indiana. “This report card helps tell us in an empirical way how vital manufacturing still is here – and most importantly, the issues we need to focus on to keep it that way." …

Other key findings from the 2009 Indiana Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card:
• Indiana ranks first among states in per capita manufacturing employment and 9th in logistics employment per capita;
• The state ranks first in income derived from foreign-owned manufacturers and 5th in reach of foreign investment, reflecting strong success in attracting global manufacturing capital;
• While Indiana ranks second among states in workers compensation rates, the state places 28th and 33rd respectively in healthcare premiums and long-term healthcare costs, making healthcare an issue of concern going forward;
• With rankings of 29th in percentage of the workforce with a high school diploma and 42nd in college-educated workers, human capital remains Indiana’s biggest long-term hurdle to future manufacturing and logistics growth.

The full 2009 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card can be viewed online on Ball State University’s web site.