Manufacturing in the U.S. is undergoing a renaissance, and Indiana is among the biggest beneficiaries, according to a newly released study.
A study by America's Energy Advantage, a manufacturing advocacy group, found that energy-intensive basic material manufacturers, such as steelmakers, are investing $110 million in 120 different projects across the nation. Those projects are expected to result in more than 68,000 new jobs.
Indiana ranked eighth nationally. Primary material-makers are investing $1.6 billion in various projects that are putting an estimated 1,350 construction workers to work in the Hoosier state.
The advocacy group, which represents major industrial companies such as aluminum giant Alcoa, says the manufacturing boom can partly be attributed to an abundant supply of low-cost natural gas. The group lobbies for restrictions on the export of natural gas, which it says should be used to maintain a cost advantage for U.S. factories.
"This great news shows that the first wave of the American manufacturing renaissance has begun, and it is due in large part to an affordable and reliable supply of domestic natural gas," said Jennifer Diggins, the chairwoman of America's Energy Advantage and director of public affairs for Nucor Corp., which has a storage depot in Hammond.
"This is the way it should be: an American natural resource helping to fuel an American manufacturing recovery, which is creating thousands of good-paying, high-skilled jobs for workers and their families."
Diggins predicts a second wave of investment would occur when more companies invest in the U.S. to take advantage of cheap natural gas that is being extracted from shale. Companies that moved their factories abroad may even eventually move them back to America, if it can be competitive on cost, she said.