Communities all across the country on Friday will celebrate Manufacturing Day, an occasion when factories throw open their doors to high school students to interest them in industrial careers.

Indiana remains a national manufacturing powerhouse, both in employment and output. The state has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation, and one of five Hoosiers work in the manufacturing sector, according to the Indiana Department of Economic Development.

Indiana’s manufacturing sector produced an estimated output of $93.61 billion in 2014, according to the National Manufacturing Association. Only California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas manufactured more.

The Hoosier state employs an estimated 519,300 factory workers, according to the National Manufacturing Association. That’s down more than 25 percent from 2000, when Indiana had 696,900 manufacturing jobs. The decline, which has taken place nationally, has largely been driven by automation and offshoring to foreign countries with lower wages.

But since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, Indiana has added 87,200 manufacturing, showing the sector remains strong, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

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Northwest Indiana is a major hub of manufacturing in the state with its steel mills, oil refineries, and auto parts suppliers. Region factories make a wide array of products, including huge industrial cranes, soap, recycled cardboard boxes, gummy bears, solar inverters, Tide Pod film, and Build-A-Bear machines.

Manufacturing accounts for more than 17 percent of the overall jobs in Indiana, and factory positions pay well. The National Manufacturing Association estimates the average manufacturing worker in the state makes $72,256 a year, well above the average of $44,806.

The IEDC estimates that state has 8,500 factories that account for a quarter of Indiana’s overall GPD.

In 2014, Indiana, the second biggest automotive manufacturing state, even surpassed Michigan’s overall manufacturing output of $82.26 billion.

And last year, the Hoosier State’s manufacturing output surpassed $100 billion for the first time, according to the Indiana Manufacturing Association.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.