Why Northeast Indiana?

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Northeast Indiana is an attractive location for companies around the country and world to invest. With a convenient location, low cost of doing business, diverse workforce and abundant resources, Fort Wayne and the surrounding region is becoming a sought-after area for business development and company relocation. To learn more about how Northeast Indiana is moving forward, visit Regional Initiatives or contact our Business Development department. 


  • Centrally located in the Great Lakes region with convenient access to major Midwest markets (2 hours to Indianapolis and 3 hours to Chicago, Detroit, Columbus and Cincinnati).
  • Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana, while Northeast Indiana has a regional population of nearly 700,000.

Cost of Doing Business

  • Competitive labor costs. The median hourly wage for production occupations is $15.90 1
  • Electricity costs are well below the national average. The region’s largest electricity provider, Indiana Michigan Power (AEP) has an average industrial rate of 5.42 cents/kWh, 22% below the national average. 2
  • Indiana ranks 11th in best tax environments in the United States and the best in the Midwest based on the 2013 State Tax Environment Index by the Tax Foundation.
  • In May 2011, legislation was passed that will lower Indiana’s corporate tax rate to 6.5% from 8.5% over the next 4 years.
  • Indiana offers the 2nd lowest worker’s compensation rates and the 14th lowest unemployment insurance rates in the nation and the lowest in the Midwest. 3
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  • The Fort Wayne area has a diverse industry base with high employment concentrations in specialty insurance, logistics and manufacturing of communications equipment, automotive vehicles and components, steel products, medical devices and food and beverages.
  • Indiana is a right-to-work state. In 2012, Indiana became the first state in over a decade to pass right-to-work laws. Right-to-work laws prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers that make membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment.
  • Over a dozen colleges and universities are located in Northeast Indiana with enrollment topping 40,000 students. The Fort Wayne area is also home to tens of thousands of graduates from nearby Purdue University, Indiana University, Notre Dame, and Ball State University.
  • Northeast Indiana has the second highest concentration of New Tech high schools in the nation behind New York City and the largest concentration of STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering and math) New Techs in the country.
 MSA Job Growth (2007-2012)  Wage Growth (2006-2011) Short Term Job Growth (7/2012-7/2013)  High-Tech GDP Growth (2007-2012) # of High-Tech Industries with LQ>1 (2012) Rank 
Grand Rapids, MI
51 163 8 138 133 1
Peoria, IL
69 49 200 11 186 2
Knoxville, TN
79 64 43 68 68 3
Fort Wayne, IN
139 149 171 32 50 4
Toledo, OH
161 178 99 79 109 5
Rockford, IL
180 174 197 116 133 6
Evansville, IN-KY
59 132 187
180 109 7
Dayton, OH 156 180 181 99 36 8
Chattanooga, TN-GA
135 115 154 189 186 9
South Bend, IN-MI
173 165
196 44 91 10
Kalamazoo, MI 
165 144 170 188 109 11

Source: Milken Institute, 2014

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  • Served by two major interstate highways, I-69 (North/South) and I-80/90 (East/West).
  • Served by two Class I freight railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern. Numerous Norfolk Southern main lines converge in Fort Wayne, connecting to Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Kansas City and Toledo with a major east-west CSX main line from Chicago to the Northeast passing through Auburn, Indiana. Numerous Class III lines by Rail America and the Indiana Northeastern Railroad also serve the region.
  • The state of Indiana ranks high nationally for logistics (1st in pass-through interstates, 2nd in world's largest FedEx air hubs (Indianapolis), 3rd in freight railroads, and 5th in Class I railroads).4
  • Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) is home to four major carriers: Delta, United, American, and Allegiant Air. There are over 100 weekly non-stop departures to Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Minneapolis, and other major cities. The region also has several municipal airports, two of which have runways over 5,000 ft.
  • The newly expanded Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ #182) serves the 10 counties in Northeast Indiana, in addition to neighboring Jay and Blackford counties, offering duty exemptions and payment deferrals for many businesses engaged in importing and exporting.
  • Fort Wayne is headquarters to Triple Crown, an affiliate with Norfolk Southern Corporation which provides bimodal, truckload transportation services throughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States and portions of Canada.
  • View the logistics sales sheet for more information.

Natural Resources

  • Abundance of water to support the needs of industrial and food/beverage companies. Excess water capacity in the region’s largest municipal water system, Fort Wayne City Utilities, is more than 35 million gallons per day.
  • Indiana is the nation’s 5th largest corn producing state, 4th largest soybean producing state, and one of the fastest growing dairy states, all of which are used to support regional food processing companies. 5

To learn more about how Northeast Indiana is moving forward, visit Regional Initiatives or contact our Business Development department. 


1 Source: EMSI 2015.2 Class of Worker, QCEW

2 Source: "Typical Bills and Average Rates Report Winter 2010"; Edison Electric Institute. 12 months ending 12/31/10 for investor owned utilities.

3 Indiana average worker’s compensation rate is $1.16 per $100 of payroll. Source: AFLEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, 2011.
Indiana average unemployment insurance rate is .64% as a percent of total wages. Source: US Dept. of Labor, 2010.

4 Source: 2014 Indiana Logistics Directory

5 Source: US Dept. of Agriculture NASS, 2009

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