As it has been for some time, manufacturing is one of the pillars of the Indiana economy. In fact, as of December 2022, it is the second-largest sector in the state, behind only trade, transportation, and utilities. Despite its importance, however, manufacturing is not immune to the trends of the overall labor market.
In 2021, the manufacturing sector accounted for more than a quarter (26.56%) of the entire economic output of Indiana, with $104.73 billion in output and $40.34 billion in manufactured goods exports. It has nearly as big a presence in the workforce as a whole, employing 17.51% of the state’s non-farm workforce (546,000 employees), across over 6,900 manufacturing firms statewide. Major firms including Eli Lilly & Co., Subaru, Toyota, and General Motors all have a significant presence in Indiana.
Metals, chemicals, and automobiles are among the top manufacturing niches within the state. The top five segments by economic output are:
- Chemicals ($23.35 billion)
- Motor vehicles and parts ($18.58 billion)
- Primary metals ($7.92 billion)
- Food, beverage, and tobacco products ($7.28 billion)
- Fabricated metal products ($6.43 billion)
The overall unemployment rate in Indiana, however, is ticking up just a little bit each month, reaching 3.1% in December 2022 after hovering below 3% until October. Expectations linger that the efforts to combat inflation, combined with individuals reducing spending, may lead to a reduction in overall production, which in turn can lead to layoffs in sectors like manufacturing. Indeed, the Department of Workforce Development, which tracks WARN notices of layoffs, has listed several manufacturing firms among companies laying off employees over the last several months.
Hiring in the Indiana manufacturing sector, then, is all about finding the right balance. It’s important to fill key roles now and retain top talent to ensure that operations can continue at an appropriate level, whether or not an economic downturn comes and whether it is mild or more severe.
Because of Indiana’s historic ties to the manufacturing industry, there may not necessarily be a labor shortage in the usual sense, but employees may also be looking outside of the sector if they are seeking a career change, a sense of stability, or simply different benefits. With a careful evaluation of the employee value proposition, a strategic outlook on the months ahead, and even the advice of a trusted recruiting partner, Indiana manufacturers can weather the challenges and continue to provide a bulwark in the state’s economy.
By Rose Dorta
Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?
I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, managing director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.