Indiana Metro Areas Take Three of the Top 15 Spots

Employment growth figures just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show three Indiana metropolitan areas among the top 15 growth leaders in the nation thus far in 2000.

What is an MSA?

A metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a city along with the surrounding area that has close economic ties to the city. Boundary lines for MSAs usually are county lines. An MSA can be one county or a cluster of counties, such as the nine counties that make up the Indianapolis MSA. Also known as "metro areas," MSAs are defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget. Many kinds of data are categorized and tracked by MSA.

The Elkhart-Goshen, Kokomo and Muncie areas led the state's 11 metro areas to a 3.0% increase in non-farm jobs over January 1999, while the 273 metro areas of the nation recorded a 2.6% advance. Only Kentucky, of Indiana's four neighboring states, also exceeded the national figure. The metro areas of Illinois, Michigan and Ohio fell below 2% in employment growth (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

The higher growth rate for Indiana metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) was most pronounced in construction, government and retail trade (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

In the manufacturing sector, Indiana advanced in employment while the nation saw a contraction. The United States metro areas exceeded Indiana only in two sectors: transportation and public utilities and in services. For the nation's 273 metro areas, services dominated employment growth, accounting for nearly 50% of all added jobs. In Indiana, growth was more balanced with 26% in services and 24% in retail trade.

The 11 Indiana MSAs tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (excluding New Albany) ranged in growth rates from 5.5% in Elkhart-Goshen to 0.4% next door in South Bend. Nearly half of all the jobs added in Indiana, between January of 1999 and the same month in 2000, were in the Indianapolis MSA.  The Gary and the Ft. Wayne metro areas together added fewer jobs than did Elkhart-Goshen.

Metro Areas with Highest Employment Growth Rate

The six metro areas with the highest annual job growth in this region were all in Indiana. For the five-state region that includes Indiana and its four neighboring states, non-farm employment grew 5.5% in Elkhart-Goshen, to lead all metro areas. Job growth reached 5.4% in Kokomo and 5.2% in Muncie. Rounding out the region's top six metro areas were Lafayette at 4.3%, Bloomington at 3.8% and the Indianapolis area with 3.7%. 

Figure 3

The employment growth data come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period January 1999 to January 2000.