Key Manufacturing Sectors Forecasted to Add Thousands of Jobs

Key Manufacturing Sectors Forecasted to Add Thousands of Jobs

The development of future-focused industries has been a major priority for Indiana officials over the last few years, and signals are showing a big payoff may be on the horizon. Recent projections indicate an employment growth of 5% to 10% in several key advanced manufacturing categories. Specifically, the transportation equipment, chemical, and computer and electronic product manufacturing subsectors could add over 13,000 jobs to Indiana’s economy by 2026.

These findings come from a benchmarking analysis released last autumn by Conexus Indiana, an organization dedicated to advancing and supporting the state’s manufacturing and logistics industries, in collaboration with Lightcast, a global market analytics firm. Researchers focused on innovative sectors that Indiana has been actively developing, such as microelectronics, life sciences, advanced mobility, and clean energy.

 

Big Jumps Ahead

When looking at a breakdown of specific types of “Industry 4.0” jobs, which are the types of advanced manufacturing and logistics careers that Indiana has been making significant investments to support and develop, the forecast anticipated substantial increases in job numbers in the near future.

“Strengthening our advanced manufacturing and logistics industries has always been at the forefront of our work as a statewide organization, and for good reason: Manufacturing alone employed 533,877 Hoosiers and contributed $104 billion in Gross Regional Product (GRP) in 2022, making Indiana the most manufacturing intensive state in the nation,” said Ryan Henderson, director of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Conexus Indiana. “When we reviewed the data, we saw trends in several industry sectors that could contribute significantly to the overall expected growth in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries.”

Using federal economic data and real-time job postings for their findings, the researchers noted that by 2026:

  • Semiconductor processing technician employment will grow by 32%.
  • Biochemist/biophysicist employment will grow by 22%.
  • Biological technician and chemical engineer employment will grow by 19%.
  • In a related trend, logistics-related occupations such as logisticians (like supply chain managers/engineers) and light truck drivers are expected to grow by 33% and 12% by 2026, respectively.

All of this growth comes with relatively high wages too. The average total compensation in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing industry is $89,555 and in logistics is $67,988. These compensation totals beat most neighboring states for their advertised average wages.

“These advanced manufacturing and logistics careers will enable the growth of Indiana’s future-focused industries. We’re seeing significant and fast growth in industries like semiconductors and electric vehicle batteries because of the bold initiatives our state is undertaking to ensure we are competing to win,” said Tony Denhart, EVP of Workforce and Talent for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

 

Indiana’s Stake in this Game

Indiana has been making a series of large moves to achieve employment growth projections like these. One of the main approaches the state has taken involves bolstering company efforts to modernize their operations. For example, under the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program, 425 grants totaling $45 million have been awarded as of May 2023, stimulating private sector project investments of $628 million.

State legislators have further allocated an additional $40 million in the next two-year budget from July 2023 to June 2025 to continue to boost Indiana’s manufacturing sector.

With regard to the talent pipeline, Purdue University’s launched a set of interdisciplinary degrees and credentials in 2022 that pertain to various disciplines in semiconductors and microelectronics. Last spring, Indiana University also created three new degree programs in the areas of microelectronics, semiconductors, and nanofabrication.

 

Important Recommendations

The report from Conexus Indiana and Lightcast outlined several recommendations, including leveraging the funding opportunities under the $52.7 billion CHIPS Act to expand domestic chip manufacturing. Every subsector that relies on these electronic components stands to benefit, including vehicles and medical devices, as long as our state continues to drive growth in the talent pipeline by supporting education and training.

The authors also suggested that Indiana should continue to support and promote advanced technology adoption, take advantage of federal incentives for the development of workforce training and upskilling programs, expand degree programs in areas like biochemistry, biotech, and chemical engineering, and finally, expand efforts to attract younger generations to advanced manufacturing and logistics fields.

Although these initiatives may seem like a tremendous amount of work, many of them are already underway throughout the state.

 

Taking the Lead

As long as Indiana continues its efforts to support all of the transition taking place in these advanced manufacturing sectors, it’s likely we’ll be seeing outstanding job growth in these areas for years to come. With the right investments and a commitment to innovation, Indiana is poised to become a leading hub for cutting-edge industries.

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