Indiana GPS Project economy and workforce data informs ideas for growth and greater prosperity

What is the Indiana GPS Project?

Indiana has a long legacy of creating innovations for the global economy – from Warsaw’s early orthopedics entrepreneurs to Studebaker, Stutz, and Cummins to Kokomo native Elwood Haynes’ patent for stainless steel. Whether its agricultural production, automotive parts, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, or engines and turbines, our advanced industries contribute an outsized amount to the state and U.S. economy. However, over the past decade, the state’s productivity and competitive advantage have started to falter.

Are Indiana’s industry strengths at risk?

Can Hoosiers get good paying jobs on a sustainable career path?

If not, how can we correct the course?

The Indiana GPS Project answers these questions by analyzing a decade of economic and workforce data for all 92 Indiana counties and providing future-focused recommendations.  The series of four reports are designed to focus business priorities and spur intentional growth across the entire state of Indiana and to increase the number of good jobs in all types of industries to help provide better opportunities for every Hoosier.

Scholars from Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a collaborative team of undisputed national experts, have carried out some unprecedented research and analysis about Indiana’s economy, regions, population and workforce.

The AEI work includes three studies:

The Brookings work, State of Renewal: Charting a new course for Indiana’s economic growth and inclusion, synthesized past research and present insights, providing fresh analysis and actional recommendations for inclusive progress on a statewide scale, including:

  • Technological developments coupled with global economic forces, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have placed the state’s economy at an inflection point.
  • Automation and global trade are acutely felt in Indiana thanks in large part because it is the most manufacturing-intensive state in the country.
  • Such factors create disruption and uncertainty—but also present opportunity in that they underscore Indiana’s status as a global economic player and a home to globally traded advanced industries.

The Project divided the state into 11 regions – many of which are aligned with the already existing regional development authorities and State Regional Cities designations, and each centered around one or two key metropolitan areas.

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, who engaged the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution on the Indiana GPS Project, is hopeful that the data and information made available through this project will prove to be both timely and helpful as Indiana and its regions chart a future course and seek a more prosperous future.

What is an “advanced industry”?

Advanced industries disproportionately drive the economy through high-tech innovation, spending the most on research and development per worker (in the 80th percentile of among all industries) and having a STEM-intensive workforce (greater than the national average).

Brookings Institution scholars first published a report on advanced industries in 2015. Today, there are 47 advanced industries, with Indiana having the third highest concentration nationwide. Indiana’s advanced industries are impressively spread throughout the state, from Elkhart to Evansville, and directly employ 10% of all Hoosier workers (more than 311,000 jobs). They account for 25% of the state’s GDP and are responsible for 60% of the state’s exports. As a result, they stimulate local economies, leading to more than a million direct and indirect jobs.

What is a “good” job?

Good jobs pay family-supporting, middle-class wages and offer benefits. In Indiana, this means a job that offers regular, full-time wages between $17 and $19/hour ($35,360-$39,520/annually) and employer-sponsored health insurance.

To determine whether a job is good, Brookings Institution’s scholars built on prior work, including a project in Central Indiana, to complete an exhaustive assessment of job quality. Through this work, Brookings scholars determined that nationwide, a good job pays at least $19/hour and includes employer-provided health insurance. For the Indiana GPS Project, Brookings scholars adjusted for the cost of living using a well-established index, to determine good job wage thresholds for each of the state’s 11 regions.

“Good” jobs pay the wages listed below and come with employer-sponsored health insurance

Indiana GPS Project RegionHourly WageAnnual Wage
Central Indiana$18.02$37,600
Southern Indiana$17.50$36,500
Indiana Uplands$17.30$36,100
Wabash Heartland$17.20$35,900
Northern Indiana$17.25$36,000
Southwest Indiana$17.06$35,600
West Central Indiana$17.15$35,800
Northeast Indiana$17.01$35,500
Southeast Indiana$17.06$35,600
East Central Indiana$16.96$35,400

What is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership?

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) brings together the chief executives of Central Indiana’s prominent corporations, foundations and universities in a strategic and collaborative effort dedicated to the region’s prosperity and growth, although in many cases the organization works outside the central region’s boundaries.

CICP has been instrumental in working with leaders to create a number of projects to help advance certain strategies of our regional economy, including:

In addition, CICP, also includes six talent and industry sector initiatives – BioCrossroads for the life sciences industry; AgriNovus Indiana for the agbiosciences industry; Ascend Indiana for workforce development; Conexus Indiana for advanced manufacturing and logistics; Energy Systems Network for energy technology; and TechPoint for IT and technology.