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Mayor Joe Hogsett & Develop Indy report 2018 economic development success, as job creation and wage commitments outpace 2017

High-tech employment & investment continue to drive Marion County economy, as the city nets more than 13,000 new or retained jobs

December 19, 2018 – Mayor Joe Hogsett and Develop Indy announced annual economic development results today, reporting that 2018 job commitments outpaced 2017, with new jobs also boasting higher average wages than a year ago.  In all, Develop Indy pursued 74 successful relocation and expansion projects leading to 13,320 jobs attracted or retained, along with $558 million in capital investment.

Marion County’s technology sector continued to thrive this year.  In the spring, India-based InfoSys expanded earlier plans for an innovation hub in Indianapolis, adding a thousand jobs to a $245 million redevelopment at the former Indianapolis Airport terminal to boost its planned workforce to 3,000 on a 132-acre campus.

Firms like ‘e-government’ provider HighPoint Global (60 new jobs) and business software company Socio (100 new jobs) investing in Indianapolis added more fuel to a regional high-tech hot streak this year, as a recent Brookings Institute analysis placed Indy seventh among 50 major metros with the fastest five-year digital job growth.

“Indianapolis is a diverse and dynamic economy, and 2018 has been another year of growth in tech and beyond,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.  “We’re building a city with a competitive business climate and – neighborhood by neighborhood – a vibrant quality of life that appeals to people and employers alike.”

Indy’s competitive edge in advanced manufacturing also created new opportunities in 2018, and served as a major catalyst for foreign direct investment in the city.  In the fall, Swiss security products company Dormakaba revealed plans to nearly double its Indianapolis manufacturing operations, for a gain of 165 high-paying jobs over the next several years.

From building security to beverage sweeteners, Heartland Food Group also recognized Indy’s healthy manufacturing climate in adding 60 new jobs to their Indianapolisproduction center. Heartland is a global leader in the production of zero calorie sweetener products and beverage enhancers, expanding with recent product introductions like ‘Java House Cold Brew’ coffee.

With a 3.6% local unemployment rate trending below the national average, Mayor Hogsett emphasized that Indianapolis economic development efforts are focused on quality – not just quantity – of job creation.

“Our strong employment numbers should pay off for working families,” Mayor Hogsett noted.  “Earning power should be an economic development metric, and by that measure, 2018 has been a good year – we’ve attracted new jobs this year with an average wage over $31 an hour, nearly 10% higher than 2017.”

The life sciences industry continues to contribute to high-wage employment as well.  Mira Vista Diagnostics, founded locally in 2002 by Dr. LJ Wheat and a small team of scientists, will add 30 new jobs and double its facility footprint in the next 2-3 years amid growing demand for its diagnostic laboratory testing services for hospitals and laboratories.

Ian Nicolini, the Indy Chamber’s Vice-President of Indianapolis Economic Development, explained that exciting news in the closing weeks of 2018 also bodes well for the pipeline of life sciences and other high-tech opportunities.  Among the most notable developments is the progress of 16 Tech, the 60-acre innovation district planned for  the western edge of downtown.

“Last week’s groundbreaking at 16 Tech is a milestone for what will become a magnet for advanced industry innovation, investment and employment,” Nicolini said, adding that plans for 16 Tech were already a factor in projects like the Cook Group’s ‘Cook Regentec’ business unit that employs 70 workers at a facility on the edge of 16 Tech on Indiana Avenue.”

Adjacent to IUPUI and the IU School of Medicine and just minutes from the heart of downtown, 16 Tech offers a unique proposition for advanced industry businesses eager to plug into an urban innovation ecosystem. Construction is now underway at its flagship Advanced Research and Innovation Facility, future home of the state- and industry-funded Indiana Bioscience Research Institute (IBRI).

“16 Tech will be a powerful magnet for advanced industry leaders in the life sciences, technology and cutting-edge manufacturing seeking a place to innovate and collaborate,” Nicolini said.

Nicolini noted that Develop Indy is engaged in business and community development efforts beyond traditional corporate attraction, pointing to more than 1,700 ‘contacts’ with employers through the Indy Chamber’s regulatory ombudsman, an expanded suite of online business services, and business retention outreach.  “We’re the marketing arm for Indianapolis economic development, but as part of the Indy Chamber and a partner to the City, we also fill a ‘customer service’ role for local companies looking to grow,” he said.

He also hailed the Anchor Revitalization Program, a partnership among the Indy Chamber, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) that engages the city’s major non-profit institutions in ‘Live,’ ‘Hire’ and ‘Buy’ initiatives to spur homeownership, create nearby employment and new business opportunities, and strengthen urban neighborhoods across Marion County.

“We’re ‘selling’ Indianapolis and attracting new investment from across the globe, but we’re also finding new ways to maximize ‘homegrown’ potential,” Nicolini said recently.  “Our anchor partners may be non-profit institutions, but they are major purchasers and employers – enlisting them to buy and hire locally and incentivizing their employees to live in Marion County is part of a broader definition of economic development that’s started to pay dividends in 2018.”