New Study Results: Indiana’s manufacturing employment expansion continues at record pace

Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Indiana dominate in industry health, tax climate and global reach

INDIANAPOLIS (June 7, 2018) Indiana’s manufacturing industry is experiencing the longest expansion of employment in state history, according to the 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card released today by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana.

“US manufacturing and logistics are in a remarkable period of expansion,” said CBER Director Michael Hicks, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research. “Here in Indiana, both manufacturing and logistics continue to expand. The logistics industry is tied for the second longest expansion in the past 50 years.”

Indiana earned “A” ratings for manufacturing and industry health, tax climate and global reach, and has maintained those “A” grades year over year since 2009, the first year of the report card. Indiana also earned an “A” in logistics industry health.

“Indiana remains the premier advanced manufacturing and logistics state in the union, and this year’s scorecard reflects that continued expansion,” said J. Mark Howell, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “We are excited that the report indicates our industries are in great health. Our annual breakfast event showcased the leadership and technology that is necessary to build on our state’s position as a longtime manufacturing and logistics powerhouse.”

Indiana’s grades slipped from a B to B- in worker benefits and from a B to a C in productivity and innovation, both caused by an expanding economy and a tight labor force. Indiana’s productivity growth has slowed at a greater rate than other states due, in large part, to its concentration of high-tech industries, where swings in productivity are most pronounced. Productivity is impacted by strong growth in manufacturing employment and the influx of new, less productive workers.

As healthcare premiums in Indiana rose, the measure of worker benefits also increased, which negatively impacted that grade in the report card. Tight labor markets brought fewer healthy workers into health plans and increased costs for health and medical care.

The report, released at the Conexus Indiana breakfast event co-hosted with the Indianapolis Business Journal titled, “Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics: Indiana’s Innovation Economy – Exploring Transportation Megatrends”, features an annual scorecard comparison of advanced manufacturing and logistics health among U.S. states. The event showcased a lineup of speakers and panelists talking about the technology driving Indiana’s manufacturing and logistics industries forward.

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, go to

About Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research

The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) is an economic policy and forecasting research center at Ball State University. CBER research includes public finance, regional economics, manufacturing, transportation and energy sector studies. The center produces the CBER Data Center – a suite of web-based data tools – and the Indiana Business Bulletin – a weekly newsletter with commentary on current issues and regularly updated data on dozens of economic indicators. In addition to research and data delivery, CBER serves as a business forecasting authority in Indiana’s east central region, holding the annual Indiana Economic Outlook luncheon and quarterly meetings of the Ball State University Business Roundtable. 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card was written by Michael Hicks, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business Research, Miller College of Business, and Srikant Devaraj, CBER’s research assistant professor. The reports can be downloaded from the CBER website at