The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Opinion

December 29, 2013

Brian Howey: National rankings paint picture of changing Indiana

(Continued)

Nearly 17 percent of Hoosiers in the non-farm workforce are employed in manufacturing, the most of any state according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2010, Indiana has added the third-most manufacturing jobs of any state in the country — an impressive 9 percent growth rate.

We rank seventh in coal production, producing more than 36 million tons annually, and coal-fired electric power plants provided 82 percent of our net electrical generation in 2011.

Indiana ranked 26th in venture capital deals, and second in the United States in adjusted dollars per deals. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, we ranked 21st in giving, with Hoosiers donating an average of 4.5 percent of their discretionary income to charity. We are generous in giving of our time: Three in 10 said they volunteered at a nonprofit organization.

The 62,000 Indiana farms ranks 14th in the nation in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We rank first in the nation in ducks; second in popcorn, ice cream and processed tomatoes; third in spearmint; fourth in eggs and peppermint; fifth in hogs, soybeans, corn, cantaloupe and watermelons; sixth in turkeys; seventh in cucumbers; 10th in blueberries; 14th in milk cows; and 17th in marijuana.

Our state forester, Burnel C. Fischer, observed that 200 years ago, 85 percent of Indiana was covered with forests. A century ago, much of that had been cleared for our farms and industry, and in 1922, State Forester Charles Deam predicted that Indiana would be treeless in 15 years.

“I’m pleased to report that as we enter the 21st century, forests have rebounded and now comprise almost 20 percent of the state (4.5 million acres),” Fischer reported.

How educated are we?

Indiana ranks 43rd in people with bachelor’s degrees, 44th in total degrees, but we rank 14th nationally in college enrollment with 457,824 students in 2012, and we rank eighth in out-of-state students. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Notre Dame, No. 17; Purdue University – West Lafayette, No. 65; Indiana University – Bloomington, No. 83; and Ball State University, No. 184.

We have a natural advantage in location (80 percent of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive at applicable speed limits), great resources, fertile soil, world-class universities, a love of the automobile and a great upside. The key to our success is to forge a better educated and prepared workforce.

Brian Howey is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. His column appears Sundays in The Herald Bulletin.

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