Generally speaking, Indiana fares well in the 2015 Business Facilities rankings. In its 11th year, the magazine evaluates key factors including; business climate, infrastructure, incentive programs, workforce, and diverse growth strategies.
The two flagship rankings are: Best Business Climate and Economic Growth Potential. Indiana is ranked 4th for Best Business Climate but does not make the top ten for Economic Growth Potential.
Best Business Climate – 2015
8. North Carolina
10. South Carolina
Economic Growth Potential – 2015
2. North Dakota
9. North Carolina
10. New York
Indiana made a very strong showing in several key criteria evaluated by Business Facilities:
1. Workforce Training Leaders: Ranked #9 – Indiana’s workforce/training incentives, as well as the state’s effectiveness in integrating education resources into the workforce training programs.
2. Automotive Manufacturing Strength: Ranked #5 – Chrysler’s $266 million expansion project in Kokomo was noted by the publication.
3. Top Manufacturing States: Ranked #7 – No surprise to the residents of the Hoosier state, Indiana ranks very well in traditional manufacturing, and is becoming well known for its advanced manufacturing.
4. Biotech Growth Potential – Devices: Ranked #5 – Factors considered in this ranking included evaluations of strategies to leverage Indiana’s world-class leadership in this area, ranging from start-ups to global leaders.
5. Best Business Tax Climate: Ranked #8 – Indiana ranked well for its very favorable tax climate after the reforms of the past decade.
6. Best Infrastructure: Ranked #5 – The state scores very well in this category. The Major Moves program in Indiana played an important role in the overall good condition of a state’s infrastructure, along with its ability to fund maintenance and construction of roads, highways, water resources, and energy transportation networks.
For all of the high marks that Indiana is able to tout in the Business Facilities rankings, it is important to note that the state, though hard at work in the area of education, was conspicuously absent from the top ten list for the Education: Tech Skills Leaders ranking. This omission should tell our public policy leaders that the state has work to do in the area of education, technical skills, and STEM/technology training that is critical to support the state’s current and future economy.
Overall, Indiana should be proud of its ranking and reflects the hard work of many people in the state over the last 10 years. However, it is not the time for the state to rest. Clearly, there are areas that improvement must be made as time moves forward. In order to leverage our strength in manufacturing, life sciences, logistics and technology, we must have an outstanding business climate, top notch human capital, excellent infrastructure, and competitive incentive programs. In order for our businesses and citizens to prosper, the Hoosier state must continue to innovate.
Larry Gigerich serves as Managing Director of Ginovus, an Indianapolis-based economic development advisory services firm.