The executive managing director of Fishers-based site selection firm Ginovus says the state’s recently-announced record economic development numbers show Indiana continues to perform well, particularly in the Midwest. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said last week the state received $22.2 billion in capital investment commitments, a 260% increase over the previous year.
“When you look at the unemployment rate in our state being lower than it is in most places across the country, and I think, too, the increased focus on wage levels has been a big part of what the state has been trying to do,” said Larry Gigerich.
Gigerich discussed the state’s performance in certain sectors in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
“Certainly [in] manufacturing, life sciences and then real estate, in particular, the state has outperformed many other areas across the country, and those have been the fastest-growing areas for the state’s GDP. So, I think that creates a real opportunity,” Gigerich said.
The state over the last year has put a major emphasis on the electrification of the auto industry, as well as the production of semiconductors. Gigerich says that push in Indiana has made a big difference.
“Senator [Todd] Young being so heavily involved in the CHIPS Act really creates a lot of momentum around it. And then, without a doubt, Intel making the decision that they did to go to Ohio created a lot of momentum for the Midwest, and really people have realized the Midwest is a place where you can make things, but also you can engineer and design things. And I think there is a great opportunity for us going forward.”
While the decision by Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) to invest $20 billion to build two semiconductor manufacturing plants in Ohio is seen as a win for the Midwest, it did represent a loss for Indiana, which was in the running for the project.
Gigerich said one of the main reasons that cost Indiana the project is one that the state will need to continue focusing on for future economic development: talent.
“I think clearly, talent is where Indiana has more work to do and not just four year degrees; it’s two-year degrees, certifications, credentials for different industry sectors, but we really need to lift our talent up,” he said. “I do think Indiana competed very well as a finalist for the Intel project, but at the end of the day, that helped tip it to Ohio for sure.”
The national economy in the year ahead could also create some challenges for Indiana.
“This inflationary period we’re in…along with interest rates rising so quickly, that does create some economic headwinds. Now, the flip side of that is it’s sort of uncharted territory for us because there’s so much federal money that has not been deployed yet for infrastructure and even some COVID money…that could help transition us through 2023 as that hits the street.”