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Where Are We and Where Are We Headed?

By Brian Burton, IMA President & CEO, Indiana Manufacturers Association

Where Are We? The General Assembly is currently in session discussing many important issues that will help shape Indiana’s future. However, it is important to occasionally stop and assess the current state of our state. The following data is from December 2021. In Indiana we currently have 3,118,200 total non-farm jobs of which 2,705,500 are private sector. We have 546,000 manufacturing jobs and an overall unemployment rate of 2.7%. Our labor participation rate is 62.4%. Job postings in December totaled 240,711.

In 2021, businesses expanded, creating 4,964 new business establishments. This amounted to a 2.9% increase in the number of businesses in our state.

Where Are We Headed? As reported in the state’s revenue forecast reports, the outlook for manufacturing output and employment remains solid. Demand for goods is supported by robust personal income and high rates of savings. As discussed at our board of directors meeting on January 12, supply chain issues remain a challenge and will continue into the near future. Our state economy remains solid, despite broader macro concerns. Inflation is of great concern and is currently at a 40-year high and is eating into gains from higher wages and revenues. Labor force participation is still in recovery mode, causing reduced activity for many.

Our state's economy has largely rebounded from the pandemic, but it's facing challenges, as is most of the nation. Our quick rebound was largely due to the resiliency of our robust manufacturing sector. Overall economic output regained pre-downturn levels by early 2021. Labor shortages remained an ongoing concern, not only in our state but also nationally. Indiana's payroll employment will slowly return to pre-pandemic levels by late 2022.

Keep in mind, these forecasts were done prior to the Omicron variant. That's the wild card. Absenteeism because of infections and childcare issues continues to plague many businesses. Returns to offices have been delayed and many have remained in remote mode.

Our economy is headed in the right direction, largely as a result of the efforts and strengths of the manufacturing sector. Thank you to all of the members of the IMA for your efforts and contributions. It keeps our state moving in the right direction.

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