updated: 7/11/2014 2:53:45 PM

Study: Skilled Workers Key to Indiana's Growth

Joe Ulery, InsideINdianaBusiness.com

 Hicks says Indiana is once again experiencing growth in its manufacturing sector.

A new report suggests the economic future of Indiana hinges on how well its workforce is educated. Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research Director Michael Hicks says how we nurture existing business and improve the skill level of our workforce are key to good paying jobs. He says the state must also focus on attracting residents and boosting educational and workforce readiness.

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July 8, 2014

News Release

Muncie, Ind. (July 7, 2014) -- Indiana's economic future could hinge on how the state better educates its workforce to take advantage of opportunities in the fast-growing sectors of technologically advanced manufacturing, biosciences, emerging media, and information technology and logistics, says a new study from Ball State University.

The finding is the conclusion of "Key Economic Sectors in Indiana: State Overview," a new report by Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research. The study was conducted by CBER for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Indiana's lead economic development organization.

It is the first set of regional sector studies performed throughout the state of Indiana and offers the first statewide examination of key economic sectors in almost 15 years. CBER will release more in depth reports about the state's economic issues over the coming months.

"At the outset, it is clear that there are two broad dynamics at work when considering key sectors in Indiana," said Michael Hicks, CBER director. "The first is that an increasing share of businesses must locate near a population base, leaving a smaller share of jobs that could be lured to a region. The second is that Indiana is a very attractive location for firms that can choose to relocate."

The study outlines the increasingly difficult nature of business attraction efforts, which is a consequence of a declining share of "footloose" employment. Such jobs may be located anywhere in any state.
However, as more and more jobs must locate nearby a population base, the structure of economic development must shift towards nurturing quality of place and the human capital of workers, Hick said.
Hicks said his research clearly indicates that current economic development efforts of attracting business cannot sustain Indiana as a growing economy.

"Though still part of the economic development puzzle, traditional business attraction must give way to a more robust focus on attracting residents and boosting the educational and workforce readiness of the state," he said. "This study clearly points out that reality, while offering a focus for traditional economic development efforts."

He points out that four major lines of business represent almost all the footloose economic growth in Indiana, including technologically advanced manufacturing, biosciences, emerging media, and information technology and logistics.
The study focuses on opportunities within these broad lines of business, examining more than 700 subsectors of the Indiana economy. It details subsectors that are growing and describes their size and growth in recent years and the source of that growth: either inside or outside Indiana.
The study found:

- Each of the four key sectors requires a diverse set of employees to keep all aspects running smoothly, including sales, administrative and technical support.

- In 2010, 195,982 workers were employed in the technologically advanced manufacturing sectors with production occupations constituted a 45.8 percent share of all advanced manufacturing jobs.

-The biosciences sectors employed 425,316 workers in 2010, and relied on service occupations, with a 32.2 percent share of all jobs, followed by health care practitioners and technical occupations (30.9 percent), office and administrative support occupations (15.5 percent), and management, business and financial occupations (5.8 percent).

- The emerging media and information technology sectors used office and administrative support occupations (23.8 percent), computer, engineering and science occupations (23.8 percent), and management, business, and financial occupations (22.2 percent). In 2010, the IT sectors employed 169,753 workers.

- A total 136,565 workers were employed in logistics sectors in 2010. Transportation and material moving occupations had 59 percent of total logistics jobs, followed by office and administrative support occupations (16.1 percent), installation, maintenance, and repair occupations (6.1 percent) and management, business and financial occupations (5.8 percent).

Source: Ball State University

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