Evansville and Henderson’s economies continue to be driven by manufacturing

EVANSVILLE, Indiana – There is a critical need for nurses and other health professionals in the region, and this is expected to continue in the future, officials said.

Manufacturing, however, remains the backbone of the region’s economy, judging by the goods and services that Vanderburgh and its neighboring bi-state counties produce.

In the pandemic-dominated year 2020, the total gross domestic products produced by the five counties amounted to around $ 20.6 billion, down around 3.3% from 2019. The the largest share, nearly $ 6.8 billion, came from the manufacturing sector.

Opportunities for local factories will only increase in the years to come, thanks to Toyota’s recent announcement of an expansion of 1,400 jobs in Gibson County and the expected arrival in 2026 of a Pratt paper in Henderson which will employ 320 people.

Toyota and Pratt paper chose this region for these projects because they were confident the jobs could be filled here, officials said.

Following:Here’s how Toyota plans to fill 1,400 new jobs in Indiana and how you can land one of them

World bay, a Fortune 500 company based in Evansville, is considering the Evansville area for its next plastic production expansion, and a decision is expected in September.

Amazon quietly opened a distribution center in 2020 in the Vanderburgh Industrial Park. It is believed to employ around 150 people.

“Manufacturing is doing extraordinarily well here, and we don’t just have job opportunities, we have career opportunities,” said Tara Barney, co-CEO of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership.

Businesses in the region, however, are struggling to fill the openings they currently have. Mills in Henderson County report a continued need for assistance.

“They need everything from welders to machinists to production workers, just a wide variety,” said Missy Vanderpool, executive director of Henderson Economic Development. “I met one last week who told me he could hire 30 people.”

Following:How did Henderson land the $ 400 million Pratt Paper LLC plant that will employ 321 people by 2026?

Transportation is also a huge local need, with hundreds of openings for commercial vehicle drivers. It is not unique to this region.

In 2019, a trucking industry association reported a need for 60,000 drivers across the country, and that was before the pandemic changed Americans’ shopping habits even more.

Truck driving “is becoming more of a demand, and we’re not going to see that go away any time soon,” said Greg Wathen, co-CEO of E-REP. “COVID has really changed the way we buy things, and technology has made that happen as well. I’m really interested to see if Amazon is bringing any more technology into our market.”

Wathen said the region has recovered rather well from the pandemic economic malaise, thanks to its strength in manufacturing, health and life sciences.

Unemployment rates for July were 4.4% in Vanderburgh County, 3.3% in Warrick County, 3.2% in Posey County, 3.1% in Gibson County , 4.6% in Henderson County and 4.4% in Union County.

The region, however, has a continued thirst for more human talent, officials on both sides of the Ohio River said.

Following:Evansville CVB chief to leave amid conflict with local government officials

E-REP, which was formed this year through a merger of the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce and two other organizations, is on a mission to attract and retain talent in the region, which , according to the 2020 census, has seen miniscule population growth.

Officials describe it as perhaps the biggest challenge facing the region.

“The reality is you are looking at significant demand,” Wathen said.

2020 Gross Domestic Product for the Evansville Metropolitan Statistical Area (Vanderburgh, Posey, Warrick and Henderson Counties) plus Gibson County

  • Manufacturing: $ 6.786 billion
  • Health and social assistance: $ 2.152 billion
  • Real estate and rental and leasing: $ 1.566 billion
  • Wholesale trade: $ 918 million
  • Utilities: $ 896 million
  • Construction: $ 866 million
  • Educational services: $ 848 million
  • Professional, scientific and technical services: $ 729 million
  • Finance and insurance: $ 723 million

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