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 more than 750,000.

Cost of Doing Business

  • Competitive labor costs. The median hourly wage for production occupations is $16.03 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 8th 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 2nd 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 5-year Job Growth
5-year Wage Growth
Short Term Job Growth 
High-Tech GDP
# of High-Tech Industries with LQs Rank 
Grand Rapids, MI
9 38 5 142 114 21
Des Moines, IA
57 22 78 159 144 45
Knoxville, TN
98 78 62 89 89 112
Kalamazoo, MI
181 137 77 74 89 116
Chattanoogo, TN
113 92 82 169 144 154
Fort Wayne
151 85 103 56 157
Toledo, OH
99 162 106 173 194 162
Evansville, IN
126 163 53 71 144 163
South Bend, IN
174 194 111 130 74 171
Dayton, OH
163 168 148 68 37 174
Rockford, IL
134 188 158 155 114 176

Milken Institute “Best Performing Cities” rankings strive to illustrate where employment is expanding, wages are growing, and businesses are thriving through a discrete set of measures including five-year and one-year growth in jobs, wages and salaries, and technology output. Metropolitan area job growth, growth in wages and salaries, and high-tech sector GDP growth are relative to U.S. average. Location quotient (LQ) measures an industry’s concentration in an area.  An area with an LQ > 1.0 is more concentrated than in the rest of the U.S.
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.
  • 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 2015.4 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 Source: 2015 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.  Note: Indiana average worker’s compensation rate is $1.06 per $100 of payroll. Tax Foundation, 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index

4 Source: 2014 Indiana Logistics Directory

5 Source: US Dept. of Agriculture NASS, 2012

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