Conexus Indiana and the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research today (June 10) released the 2011 Indiana Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card, an annual grading of the strengths, challenges and opportunities impacting the two industries that collectively employ nearly one of every four Hoosiers.
According to a press release, this year’s Report Card confirms that Indiana’s strengths in making and moving products have buoyed the state’s economic recovery. Indiana continues to rank among the top tier of states in manufacturing and logistics employment, and Ball State economists predict that the next 12 months will be a record year for manufacturing in the state. Indiana’s manufacturing employment has risen by 4.6% since the end of the recession.
The study gives Indiana overall “A” grades in manufacturing industry (ranking first among states in share of the economy focused on manufacturing), logistics industry, global position (measuring manufacturing exports and foreign investment) and tax climate. The educational attainment of the Hoosier workforce, however, continues to be a long-term concern.
The state’s “C” grade in Human Capital is a step forward from last year’s C-, based on strong enrollment in community college programs and improved high school graduation rates. But Indiana’s adult population continues to rank among the least-educated in the nation, leaving Hoosier manufacturing and logistics firms struggling to find qualified applicants for jobs that demand increasingly advanced skills.
This year’s study reiterates that Indiana must do a better preparing the next generation of manufacturing and logistics workers, said Steve Dwyer, Conexus Indiana’s president and CEO, noting “today’s jobs aren’t about standing at assembly lines, they’re about running computerized equipment and robotic systems, about teamwork and problem-solving.”
He added, “We have to give introduce young Hoosiers to these careers early on, and give them opportunities to acquire the skills they need at all levels to create the pipeline of talent that manufacturing and logistics employers need to grow.”
Other key findings from the 2011 Indiana Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card:
• Indiana ranks second among states in per capita manufacturing employment and ninth in logistics employment.
• Indiana ranks first in per capita income derived from foreign-owned manufacturing operations, ninth in manufacturing exports per capita and 13th in export growth.
• Indiana scored a “C” in benefit costs, based on poor rankings in healthcare and fringe benefit costs.
• Indiana generally ranks in the top tier of states in terms of tax rates and the recently-enacted corporate income tax cut should bolster the state’s current ranking of 21st in corporate taxes.
• The state’s “C” grade in productivity and innovation represents a mixed-bag of indicators, with strong rankings in manufacturing productivity (ninth) and R&D investment (15th) offset by poor performance in patents-per-capita (32nd);
• With rankings of 31st in percentage of the workforce with a high school diploma or greater, 42nd in college-educated workers, and 26th in younger workers with a two-year degree, human capital remains Indiana’s biggest long-term hurdle to future manufacturing and logistics growth.