New Data: Indiana Ranks as National Leader in Share of Advanced Manufacturing Employment

Indiana has the largest state share of advanced manufacturing employment in the nation, with one out of every 12 workers employed in the advanced manufacturing sector, according a data released today by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana. The data confirms that Indiana not only has the largest concentration of manufacturing in the nation, but also leads with nearly 53 percent of its manufacturing employment in companies deemed advanced manufacturing.

Advanced manufacturing is defined by the Brookings Institution as an industry sector with high levels of STEM-related occupations and research and development investment. Using Brookings Institution’s definition, CBER looked at each state’s advanced manufacturing employment as a share of total manufacturing employment in 2013.

Conexus and CBER data also shows that Indiana’s advanced manufacturing share is growing. Between 2010 and 2013, Indiana experienced a 1.8 percentage point growth in advanced manufacturing employment, placing it in the top 25 percent nationally.

Education is an important driver of advanced manufacturing growth; researchers identified a strong correlation between educational attainment and advanced manufacturing growth in Indiana. From 2010 through 2013, the growth in the number of Indiana adults with Associate degrees or higher was positively related to growth in the advanced manufacturing sector, indicating that a well-educated and ready workforce matters more than any other single factor in the health of advanced manufacturing firms.

Additional data shows that nationally STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and white-collar jobs are growing in the advanced manufacturing sector, while blue-collar occupations have declined. Of Indiana’s 243,597 advanced manufacturing jobs, 17.4 percent are STEM-related, 24.7 percent are white-collar and 57.8 percent are blue-collar.

“These data underscore the importance of talent development efforts with a focus on educational attainment,” said Michael Hicks, Ph.D., director of CBER. “Programs such as Hire Tech, where students are exposed early on to the concepts of advanced manufacturing, are needed now more than ever as Indiana continues to grow its advanced manufacturing industry. Transitioning students into potential employees is urgent, given the fact that advanced manufacturing growth has likely provided a bulk of manufacturing employment growth in Indiana over the past decade.”

“With a direct correlation between educational attainment and the health of our advanced manufacturing sector, it’s vitally important that we focus the right resources on preparing talent to succeed in the advanced manufacturing sector,” added Steven Dwyer, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “While the State of Indiana has many programs in place to address this talent need, we need to continue our focus on attainment, which today ranks no better than average for advanced manufacturing skills.”

In the accompanying study 2016 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card for Indiana, CBER reports that Indiana maintained its “A” grade in Manufacturing Health, with 2015 again being a record year for manufacturing production. Indiana maintained its grade levels in seven of the nine categories from 2015 to 2016. Indiana’s grade for Logistics dropped from an “A” grade in 2015 to an “A-”, which was caused, in part, by the absence of a long-term infrastructure funding solution.  Indiana’s grade in Productivity and Innovation increased from a B- in 2015 to a B+ in 2016.

The nine categories in the national report card are those considered most likely to be among the issues site selection experts for manufacturing and logistics firms scrutinize.

Other grades for Indiana include:

Human Capital: C

Worker Benefit Costs: D+

Tax Climate: A

Expected Fiscal Liability Gap: B-

Global Reach: A

Sector Diversification: C

Indiana, compared to its midwestern neighbors, ranks high in Manufacturing Industry Health, Tax Climate, Fiscal Liability Gap, and Productivity and Innovation and Logistics. Indiana lags neighboring states in Worker Benefit Costs, which is caused by health care expenditures through relative higher premiums.

Full Reports:

The full Indiana report, national report, and Advanced Manufacturing in the United States: The Shift Toward Diversified Industries and an Educated Workforce are available at

About Conexus Indiana

Conexus is the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, dedicated to making Indiana a global leader. Conexus is focused on strategic priorities such as workforce development, creating new industry partnerships, and promoting Indiana’s advantages in manufacturing and logistics. Learn more at

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. The 2016 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card for Indiana, 2016 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card for the United States and Advanced Manufacturing in the United States: The Shift Toward Diversified Industries and an Educated Workforce were written by Michael Hicks, Ph.D., George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of Economics, Miller College of Business, and Srikant Devaraj, Ph.D., research assistant professor with CBER.