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Midwest Industrial Labor Report

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Strong Industrial Market Fundamentals in Indianapolis Continue to Support the Labor Force

Maggie Tillotson • 9/21/2022

Industrial markets across the country have seen historic levels of demand over the last several years and the Indianapolis market has been no exception. Through the first half of 2022, Indianapolis saw 10.6 million square feet (MSF) of overall net absorption and 14.3 MSF of new leasing activity, the seventh and eighth highest totals of all markets tracked by Cushman & Wakefield research. This incredible demand for space has meant that access to adequate and affordable industrial labor has never been more important. Cushman & Wakefield’s latest Midwest Industrial Labor Report observed supply and demand for industrial labor in seven Midwest markets including Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and St. Louis. While all Midwest markets boast an affordable cost of living and higher concentrations of material moving workers and production workers than the U.S. average, the Indianapolis market stands apart from its peers in a few ways:

Growing Population

The Indianapolis MSA has the highest five-year projected population change (4.1%) of all seven markets, highlighting a desirable metropolitan area with a growing labor pool.

Affordability Abounds

Indianapolis has the lowest production wages of the seven markets, with the median hourly rate for the three production job positions (Production Laborer, Assembler Team, and Machine Operator) averaging $19.35/hr. Indianapolis also has the second-lowest warehouse wages of the seven markets, with the median hourly rate for the five warehouse positions (Forklift Operator, Materials Handler, Packer Light, Warehouse Selector, and Warehouse Worker) averaging $18.64/hr. Indianapolis also has the second-lowest cost of living of all markets at 90.1, roughly 10% below the national average.

Top Midwest Market for Industrial Labor Growth

The Indianapolis industrial labor force is expected to grow faster than the Midwest and U.S. averages in the upcoming years. The five-year projected employment growth for Material Moving Workers in Indianapolis is 6.4%, above the U.S. average of 5.5% and the Midwest average of 5.3%. The five-year projected employment growth for Production Workers in Indianapolis is 4.0%, higher than the Midwest Average of 3.7% and the U.S. average of 3.6%.

Access the full report here. 

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