As an Indiana-based ISO 13485 certified contract manufacturer, our Genesis Plastics Welding team has always taken an interest in the role manufacturing plays in Indiana’s economic vitality. Lately, it seems we’re not the only ones to notice the economic strength of our Hoosier state.
Indiana is ranked eight for best states for doing business based on areas such as business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. It’s also sixth in top cities for technology-based jobs. Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing job growth and continues to have the highest concentration of private sector manufacturing jobs.
The following article highlights just how much Indiana leads the manufacturing rebound, and why an increasing number of OEMs are looking to source within our Hoosier state.
The manufacturing investments have rolled in to Indiana this year: $600 million at Rolls-Royce, $140 million at Subaru and $1.2 billion at General Motors, to name a few. Almost $2 billion has been invested to overhaul production facilities or expand corporate footprints — a trend that economic experts say puts Indiana at the forefront of states with manufacturing-heavy economies.
“It’s not the norm,” said Barry Bosworth, an economic expert at The Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. “It sounds like Indiana is doing well.”
Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing employment — almost 17 percent of the state’s workforce is employed by manufacturers. More than 30 percent of the state’s gross product is manufacturing, again placing Indiana ahead of all other states.
Indiana’s long tradition of manufacturing, as well as its business climate, makes it one of the most viable states for production, said Chad Moutray, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers. Indiana has thrived since the Great Recession, he added.
“Indiana is doing a lot of things right,” Moutray said. “When you look at the overall business environment in Indiana, it’s pretty clear the policies are geared toward attracting business. When you set the right climate for business, you’re going to see economic development as a result.”
The support of the state and city of Indianapolis was crucial when Rolls-Royce was deciding whether to invest in its North American operation, said Phil Burkholder, president of defense aerospace for Rolls-Royce North America.
“When Rolls-Royce was considering where to invest for the future, we looked at two primary factors — the experience of our workforce coupled with their desire to put the customer first, and the support from our elected leaders, especially Governor Pence and Mayor Ballard,” Burkholder said. “As we marked a century of aerospace innovation in Indianapolis, it made business sense to reinvest and improve our local operations.”
One reason companies are investing in their U.S. holdings is to boost their competitiveness around the globe, Moutray said. It’s easier to control quality at a U.S. facility than halfway around the world, he added.
Places such as Indiana also offer a skilled manufacturing workforce, Moutray said, adding that those workers are a boon for businesses. Indiana’s manufacturing jobs dipped to 425,200 in June 2008, but the sector has gained almost 100,000 jobs since then, coming in at 520,400 in September. Michael Hicks, an economic expert at Ball State University, said Indiana is one of the most robust manufacturing states in the country.
Indiana is among the top tier of U.S. manufacturers, and it should be poised to do well in the coming years despite the fluctuations in global markets, Moutray said. Manufacturers have become leaner and more aggressive about competing around the world, he added.
For companies such as Rolls-Royce, investing in Indiana was a strategic move to grow the company here and around the world.
“We have set the stage for future years of success,” Burkholder said. “Some of the best engines and technology originate in Indianapolis, and we look forward to continuing to innovate here for years to come.”