IEDC says 2019 deals created fewer jobs, but more investment, higher wages

The state’s lead economic development agency announced Monday that it secured nearly 300 development deals in 2019 that are expected to result in more than 27,000 new jobs.

The 2019 deals came with a lower job-creation total than in the previous two years but should result in record average wages and capital investment, the agency reported.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said it secured 296 commitments from companies to locate or grow in the state in 2019. Those businesses together plan to invest more than $8.44 billion in Indiana and create 27,137 jobs paying an average wage of $28.60 an hour.

For the past two years, the IEDC has reported record high numbers of annual job commitments from companies, with 30,710 pledged jobs in 2018 and 30,158 in 2017.

The commitments for capital investment and average wages were the highest annual totals since the IEDC was established in 2005. The last wage record of $27.20 per hour was set in 2017. In 2018, the average wage was $26.86 an hour.

The jobs and investment numbers are based on expectations from the companies and don’t always come to fruition. The IEDC typically offers incentives in the form of tax credits and training grants that aren’t paid unless the companies meet hiring goals.

“I’m excited to announce yet another record-breaking year for economic development in Indiana as we work every day to ensure that Hoosiers have the best place possible to live, work and play,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in written comments about the 2019 results.

Holcomb previously told IBJ that he didn’t expect to see a third straight year of record job commitments because the state has become choosier about offering incentives in such a strong economy.

“As a state, we have worked tirelessly to create a nationally ranked, pro-growth business climate, and the results have solidified Indiana’s reputation as a global destination for business, creating high-quality career opportunities for Hoosiers in the process,” he said.

The state’s unemployment rate, which has hovered around 3% and is slightly below the national unemployment rate, has made filling jobs difficult. It’s also made officials become more strategic about the types of jobs they try to attract, Holcomb told IBJ in December.

At the time, the state had 103,000 unfilled, high-wage, high-demand jobs available across five sectors, allowing state officials to be more selective when considering whether to offer incentives to a business.

Companies announcing the largest growth commitments in 2019, based on the number of new jobs or capital investment planned:

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