Indiana manufacturers weather coronavirus pandemic while other industries hurt

Indiana’s manufacturers have generally weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than other industries, even as some plants have been battered by changes in consumer spending amid the public health crisis, according to some business leaders.

Posted: Oct 11, 2020 9:39 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s manufacturers have generally weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than other industries, even as some plants have been battered by changes in consumer spending amid the public health crisis, according to some business leaders.

Because companies that make up Indiana’s key manufacturing industry are designated as essential businesses, most have remained in operation and haven’t seen nearly as many closures and layoffs as restaurants and hotels.

Some Indiana manufacturing plants scaled back production and furloughed workers, but they remained open even as stay-at-home orders forced other industries to pause their operations, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

“Generally, the manufacturing sector is doing well — not all the way back yet, but doing well as compared with other sectors,” said Brian Burton, president and CEO of the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

In 2019, manufacturing was responsible for 26.9% of Indiana’s gross domestic product and employed more than 16% of the state’s workforce. Those wide-ranging manufacturers have felt varying degrees of impact from the pandemic, based largely on what markets they serve.

Indianapolis-based Major Tool & Machine has continued hiring and expanding its workforce during the pandemic.

The company, which has about 400 employees, offers welding and fabrication, precision machining, engineering and other services for customers in the aerospace, defense, energy and other industries.

“We’re talking about government budgets. There’s still money being spent there,” company President Mike Griffith said.

The automotive and commercial aircraft markets, however, have been hurt by the pandemic.

Honda Manufacturing of Indiana suspended production for seven weeks at its Greensburg plant beginning in March, although operations are now back to normal.

Honda spokeswoman Yolanda White said the plant actually added extra production days over the summer to meet pent-up demand — as did all of Honda’s plants in the U.S. and Canada.

In contrast, Indianapolis-based EnerDel Inc., which makes lithium ion batteries for the transit and off-highway markets, has seen a sharp downturn as mass transit systems nationwide experienced sharp ridership declines and service cutbacks amid the pandemic.

“We actually had a pretty good first quarter for our business, but then the second quarter just really, really took a dive,” said Michael Canada, EnerDel chief executive. That slowed production in the second quarter. The company laid off about 20% of its workforce at the end of July.

Indiana’s recreational vehicle industry, which is centered in Elkhart, has seen demand rise, in part, because consumers see RVs as a way to travel with minimal exposure to COVID-19.

The RV Industry Association said last month that it expects to ship 424,400 vehicles this year, which would represent a 4.5% increase over 2019. That trend is expected to continue into 2021.

Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said one reason the pandemic hasn’t been as severe for manufacturing as for other industries is that the public health crisis has shifted consumer spending.

“Household consumption patterns shifted at least temporarily away from services,” Hicks said. “People spent more money on things.”

And since manufacturers are the ones making those “things,” he said the industry saw a boost.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 306538

Reported Deaths: 5435
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41953849
Lake26872453
Allen17621295
Elkhart16905219
St. Joseph16524223
Hamilton12696167
Vanderburgh9552115
Tippecanoe844927
Porter813785
Johnson6231165
Vigo597979
Hendricks5944156
Monroe530349
Clark504077
Madison4858121
Delaware4820103
LaPorte457194
Kosciusko455739
Howard334975
Warrick319572
Floyd311477
Bartholomew308462
Wayne301367
Cass295831
Marshall293744
Grant262949
Noble249846
Hancock246551
Boone240254
Henry240237
Dubois234631
Dearborn215730
Jackson212633
Morgan204443
Gibson181725
Knox181419
Shelby178254
Clinton177821
Lawrence174047
DeKalb172829
Adams166422
Wabash158020
Miami157814
Daviess154643
Fayette147733
Steuben143513
Jasper142111
Harrison141824
LaGrange140129
Montgomery139027
Whitley133412
Ripley128114
Decatur124643
Huntington123510
Putnam123027
Randolph120719
Wells120428
White120321
Clay119822
Posey119616
Jefferson116216
Scott103219
Greene101353
Jay96413
Starke90621
Sullivan88916
Fulton83518
Jennings83214
Spencer8198
Perry81521
Fountain7738
Washington7417
Franklin68626
Carroll67913
Orange66628
Vermillion5993
Owen5987
Parke5606
Newton55312
Tipton55226
Rush5317
Blackford51912
Pike50318
Pulaski37710
Martin3515
Benton3362
Brown3353
Crawford2881
Union2671
Switzerland2555
Warren2382
Ohio2307
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371840

Reported Deaths: 6100
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin50231667
Cuyahoga36047741
Hamilton29931372
Montgomery20065228
Butler14769146
Lucas14317414
Summit13388316
Stark8792197
Warren819175
Mahoning7276299
Lake682666
Lorain643499
Clermont577248
Delaware556436
Licking549276
Fairfield538464
Trumbull5305147
Greene522364
Clark511464
Allen465485
Marion465251
Wood4491107
Medina447756
Miami425867
Pickaway399348
Columbiana347297
Portage344872
Tuscarawas328658
Wayne318793
Richland316638
Mercer289945
Hancock241337
Ross240759
Muskingum240210
Auglaize231031
Putnam224749
Erie224266
Darke223559
Ashtabula223253
Geauga203351
Scioto195915
Union19118
Shelby190615
Lawrence189438
Athens18864
Seneca180018
Belmont164929
Madison158918
Sandusky154229
Preble152621
Huron152318
Defiance139522
Holmes139139
Logan127816
Knox126318
Fulton124525
Washington121927
Crawford121516
Ottawa121130
Clinton106714
Williams10579
Ashland105222
Highland101317
Jefferson10124
Henry100023
Brown9925
Champaign9475
Jackson93112
Hardin91019
Fayette90317
Van Wert8976
Morrow8882
Guernsey83914
Coshocton82613
Perry78712
Adams78313
Pike7451
Gallia73513
Wyandot71216
Paulding64611
Hocking62616
Noble60223
Carroll45710
Meigs39012
Monroe31821
Morgan2575
Vinton2195
Harrison2023
Unassigned00
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