Indiana Scores High Marks in Current Rankings
We have entered March madness and we’re anxiously waiting to see if our favorite team made the big dance and where they might be seeded. But I’m paying close attention to a different kind of ranking, anxious each year to see where the State of Indiana stacks up with its competitors.
And the truth is, I like where we stand, at the top or near the top of several key rankings. And I like our chances, as Indiana seeks to attract new jobs and capital investment. We’ve been on a great winning streak; I’d like to see that continue through 2023.
Forbes says we are the top state to start a new business. CNBC says our infrastructure is the best in the country. Business Facilities says we’re number one for manufacturing output. Business Facilities has us ranked second in manufacturing employment. The Foundation says our property tax rank is second in the country. CNBC says we’re number two in the cost of doing business.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Indiana is well thought of by outsiders considering where to grow or expand their business, and by insiders who have found our state a great place to start and grow their business. And as such, our State gets a lot of looks, and more importantly, gets a lot of deals done. Last year, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) broke records for the sixth straight year.
In all, 218 companies committed to locating or expanding in Indiana in 2022, investing more than $22.2 billion. That’s up some 250% from the year before and included the creation of 24,059 jobs with an average wage of $34.71/hour. In St. Joseph County, the story was similar. Overall, we saw $554.2 million in commercial construction, up 58% over 2021.
Indiana’s success can largely be attributed to several key policy decisions that helped create the right tax and business climate. Also, many critical quality-of-place investments catalyzed by the Regional Cities and READI programs have spurred development in every corner of the State.
Historically, other parts of Indiana have enjoyed more success than our region. We’re now starting to hold our own. And we’re on radars now that we hadn’t been on before. Nearly every large project looking in the Midwest considered our region. And most projects, regardless of size and considering Indiana, also gave our region a look. We remain in the mix on many of those opportunities.
It is critical we capitalize on that interest and build upon Indiana’s success. The State has put a great playbook out there and we can plug right in. Indiana’s focus on growth and innovation in semiconductor fabrication and design, electric vehicles and batteries, life sciences, agribiosciences, and industry 4.0 aligns well with what’s happening here in our region.
Access to a major university research center like the University of Notre Dame is another critical factor and gets us looks we wouldn’t otherwise get. As the university continues to ramp up its efforts in these emerging industries, it is critical that the community align with those strengths.
Our geography, site readiness, business-friendly public policy and development processes, skilled workforce, and housing will all be other key factors in winning the battle for jobs.
We must remember we’re competing with 8,000 plus other communities in the United States and communities around the world for the same investments. Like what our State did in the policy arena, our local policy decisions should prepare us for a competitive advantage and can’t hinder those efforts.
The competition is fierce and other states and communities are anxious to knock Indiana and our region from the top spot. We need to put our best team on the floor, and we must execute a sound game plan if we hope to make a run. Indiana’s been winning, and it’s time for our region to win too.