Inside INdiana Business

Indy ranks high for strong labor market

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis has the fourth-strongest labor market among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, according to The Wall Street Journal. The publication touts the city’s mix of strong economic sectors that have helped to attract and retain workers during the pandemic, including life sciences, manufacturing, and logistics and e-commerce. Indy Chamber Chief Executive Officer Michael Huber says, however, there are other sectors that continue to struggle to find the talent they need to grow.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Huber said a continued focus on talent will help all industries grow during and after the pandemic.

“The best thing that we can do is continue to play offense on the accessibility of our city, making sure that there’s a mix of housing, urban and suburban, throughout the region,” said Huber. “There’s a way that Indianapolis, we believe, could win in the long term. Indianapolis has got a growing tech sector. Indianapolis has got a growing life sciences [and] advanced manufacturing sector and a lot of people, particularly young people, I think are reevaluating their life choices and asking, ‘Is it worth it to incur the expense to be in a New York or to be in a San Francisco?'”

The Wall Street Journal looked at five indicators to determine how well labor markets performed in each area: unemployment rate, change in nonfarm payrolls, labor force participation rate, change in labor force size, and change in median wages.

Huber says it is important to note along with the recognition from the publication that there are still many people in the Indy community who continue to struggle from the economic impact of the pandemic. 

While the pandemic has led to an increase in new startups in Indianapolis and throughout the state, Huber says to sustain and grow its labor market, the city needs to double down on the environment for entrepreneurs.

“One thing that COVID has really exposed is that we don’t have a big enough support structure for entrepreneurs to create those jobs,” he said. “Indianapolis is a very attractive place to be, as evidenced by this survey, but we need to do more for the entrepreneur.”

Huber adds connectivity throughout the city is also important to growing the labor force, including more mass transit options and a greater mix of housing in different communities and neighborhoods throughout Indy.

“This study basically said [Indy] is the fourth-hottest labor market in the country. To really grow from that, you’ve got to offer people a lot of choices in terms of where they want to live because a lot of people are going to want to live urban. Some people are going want to live suburban. Some people are going to want to live on five acres, so always being cognizant that it’s not any one thing [and] making sure that we’re offering the broadest possible range of options so people know they have a lot of choices and can access everything that our region provides.”

Salt Lake City, Utah topped The Wall Street Journal’s list. You can learn more by clicking here.