Region 6: A Detailed View of Employment and Wages

With the implementation of the national Workforce Investment Act of 1997, the Department of Workforce Development, in conjunction with the governor's office and local civic and government units, grouped Indiana's 92 counties into 12 regions. The Workforce Investment/economic development planning regions were based on, among other criteria, economic similarities in industrial composition, trade relationships and work commuting patterns.

Region 6 is located in east central Indiana and stretches to the eastern border of the state. It is comprised of Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Madison and Randolph counties. The Muncie MSA*, which consists of only Delaware County, is also located in Region 6. The city of Muncie, located in the center of the region, is approximately 55 miles northeast of Indianapolis. According to the 2000 Census, these seven contiguous counties are home to 437,293 residents, indicating a net gain of 1,930 residents, or 0.4%, over the past decade. The 2000 Census shows that Madison County - part of the Indianapolis MSA - has the largest population base in Region 6, accounting for 30% of the total population. The least populated county in the region is Blackford, with 14,048, or 3% of the regional population. The region has been losing population since its 1970 high of 472,677 residents.

On a more current note, the labor force for Region 6 was 209,000 in January 2001, down 0.2% from the previous January (see Table 1 and Table 2). The labor force and employment were down in all Region 6 counties except Madison. Unemployment rates were higher in January 2001 than the previous year, and the number of unemployed workers in each county was also greater, even in Madison County.

Employment in the service industries grew nearly 30% in the last 10 years, while manufacturing decreased more than 16%. Since the late 1970s, manufacturing, which has been heavily concentrated around the transportation equipment industries, decreased 40% in the region. In the past, General Motors was the largest employer, due to the many large manufacturing plants in the area. Although the region has been significantly affected by declines in manufacturing, less than 20% of the area's 2000 total industry employment is still in the manufacturing sector. The service industries comprise 27% of the 2000 total industry employment. The region's fastest-growing occupations reflect the shift in industries. The 10 fastest-growing occupations include none of the factory skills that once were in high demand.

In the second quarter 2000, firms and employment by industry report 9,005 firms with 163,670 workers were in the region. The quarterly average wage for all industry groups (except federal) was $27,055, which is lower than the state average of $30,056. Manufacturing, with average annual wages of $41,162, is the only industry group in the region reporting average annual wages higher than the state average of $40,132. The quarterly wages in individual counties for all industries ranged from $30,524 in Madison to a low of $23,400 in Jay County (see Table 4). Wages in the manufacturing industries were highest in Henry County, $55,796. Jay County once again had the lowest wages, $27,872.

For additional information about the Muncie MSA, see Table 3.