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East Central Indiana Business Overview

Health care, manufacturing, food processing, IT, logistics highlight area economy

By Kevin Litwin on November 9, 2016

Muncie / iStock

The economy of East Central Indiana is right on the money with strong core industries such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, education, food processing, information technology, logistics, retail and warehousing. There are hundreds of diverse employers, and the region’s central U.S. location is ideal for new businesses and expansions. Here is background on some of the most robust industries:

Health Care

More than 32,000 workers are employed in the health care industry, making it the largest economic sector in East Central Indiana. Seven hospitals/health systems are among the region’s top 15 employers: Community Hospital Anderson, Henry County Hospital, Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Marion General Hospital, Reid Health, St. John’s Health System and Veterans Hospital.

Advanced Manufacturing

Nearly 29,000 people are employed in the advanced manufacturing industry in East Central Indiana, including big-name companies 3M, General Motors, MPT Muncie/Magna Powertrain, Owens-Illinois and Progress Rail. Other major employers include American Woodmark, Ardagh Group, Astral Industries, Autocar, Belden, Berry Plastics, Color-Box, Draper Inc., ELSA Corp., FCC Indiana, Grede, Howden Roots, INTAT Precision, Keihin Aircon North America, Maxon Corp., Mosey Manufacturing, Petoskey Plastics, Primex Plastics, Stant and TS Tech Indiana.

Food Processing

Another key industry in East Central Indiana is food processing, with several widely known brands experiencing success here. Two of the largest employers are Nestle USA and Tyson Foods, while some other key businesses are Café Valley, Dot Foods, Red Gold, SugarCreek Packing Co. and Weaver Popcorn.

Education and IT

Two major sectors that help propel the economy of East Central Indiana are education and information technology. In higher education, Ball State University is the area’s largest academic employer with its 2,800 staffers. Other key institutions are Indiana University East, Indiana Wesleyan University and Ivy Tech Community College. As for information technology companies, two major employers are Mursix Corp. and Ontario Systems.

Trucking and Logistics

The state of Indiana ranks ninth in the U.S. for the number of trucking establishments, and East Central Indiana has several logistics and warehousing operations such as Navient and Walmart Distribution. Trucking companies in the region include Carter Express, Fraley & Schilling, Gotcha Transport, LT Truck & Trailer Sales, OJC Trucking, Reece Transport Express, RG Transport and Thornburg Brothers Trucking.

Transportation Assets

East Central Indiana businesses benefit from an excellent infrastructure that includes major interstates I-69 (north/south), I-70 (east/west) and I-74 (east/west), and easy highway connections to I-65, I-75 and I-465. Indiana ranks third in the nation for railroads: 42, including five major Class I lines that serve East Central Indiana. Meanwhile, primary airports in the region include Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, Dayton International, Fort Wayne International and Indianapolis International.

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