Manufacturing in 2024: The Hoosier Perspective

Indiana’s manufacturing sector stands as a cornerstone of the state’s economic prowess, fostering a legacy of innovation, resilience, and industrial excellence. The state’s strategic location, robust infrastructure, and skilled workforce have attracted a myriad of manufacturing enterprises, contributing significantly to both local and national economies. 

Over the years, the Hoosier state, with a rich history deeply rooted in manufacturing, has evolved into a dynamic hub that spans a diverse range of industries, from automotive and aerospace to pharmaceuticals and machinery production. 

… But as we enter yet another new year, the national – and therefore local – manufacturing outlook is appearing a bit dim to some as a potential recession continues to loom on the horizon. 

Join us today as we look at what 2024 could hold for the manufacturing sector and how it could impact Indiana workers. 


Time and time again, Indiana has proven itself a vital component to the national manufacturing industry. 

With the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the nation, a substantial automotive industry, and 25% of the state’s economic output based in the manufacturing sector alone, Indiana’s footprint in the manufacturing world is certainly one of substance. 

In 2023, Indiana’s manufacturing sector continued to play a pivotal role in the state’s economy, showcasing resilience and adaptability in the face of evolving global trends. 

The manufacturing landscape saw a notable emphasis on advanced technologies and automation, with companies investing heavily in state-of-the-art machinery and robotics to enhance productivity and efficiency. 

This shift towards automation not only bolstered the competitiveness of Indiana’s manufacturers on the international stage but also created new opportunities for skilled workers to specialize in operating and maintaining these cutting-edge systems. 

In addition, the state worked to foster a collaborative ecosystem, encouraging partnerships between manufacturers, research institutions, and government entities. 

This collaborative approach led to the development of innovative solutions, such as the incorporation of artificial intelligence in manufacturing processes, creating a pathway for Indiana to remain a leader in the ever-evolving world of advanced manufacturing. 

Overall, Indiana’s manufacturing sector successfully showcased a dynamic blend of technological prowess and collaborative spirit throughout 2023, ensuring the state’s continued prominence in the global manufacturing arena. 

Yet, with an uncertain economic climate ahead, many in the industry are truly concerned that 2024 may not be as kind to manufacturers as the previous year. 

A Brief Word on Covid…

In order for us to fully grasp where we are in 2024, we first need to take a moment to discuss the series of occurrences that got us to this point… Notably Covid 19. 

You see, one of the many negative attributes that came along with a global pandemic is an overwhelming amount of national economic uncertainty. 

In addition, the sudden onset of the virus led to widespread business closures, supply chain disruptions, and a sharp increase in unemployment rates. 

Small businesses, in particular, faced immense challenges, with many forced to shut down permanently while the stock market experienced unprecedented volatility, reflecting the uncertainty and fear in the financial markets. 

The government responded with massive stimulus packages to mitigate the economic fallout, injecting trillions of dollars into the economy to support individuals, businesses, and healthcare systems. 

However, these measures also raised concerns about national long-term fiscal sustainability. 

… That’s the tough spot we currently find ourselves in. 

And as the U.S. tries to find its footing after its massive amounts of spending throughout the past 4 years, many financial analysts are prophesying 2024 could be the year it all comes crashing down. 

That brings us to today… 


Coming off of a fairly successful 2023, Indiana’s manufacturing sector should be celebrating. Yet, as one recent survey tells us, a significant amount of manufacturers are less enthusiastic about 2024, spending their time – and money – preparing for what they fear might be a rough year. 

Discussing his most recent survey, composed of 80 Hoosier manufacturers and conducted in collaboration with the Indiana Manufacturers Association and Katz, Sapper & Miller, director of the Center for Excellence in Manufacturing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business Mark Frohlich tells the Daily Journal that, “Fifty-five percent of Hoosier manufacturers think there’s going to be a recession next year.” 

Of those surveyed, it’s been reported that participating manufacturers identified persistent inflation, high interest rates, and a continued shortage of workers among the key challenges for the manufacturing industry in 2024. 

“We’ve never seen revenue and profits down as we’ve done this survey year after year after year.” Frohlich notes. “Thinking back right before Covid hit, and the 2019 study, we talked about how labor shortages appeared in the data to be maybe potentially hurting growth a little bit, but it wasn’t really slowing it down. Now, in 2023, it shows up a little bit more clearly that about 42% of companies were thinking that labor shortages might force them to revise their growth downwards.” 

This is why Frolich makes a point to relay data that shows 58% of survey participants plan to make Industry 4.0 investing a priority in 2024. In fact, Frolich notes the reaction to the digital revolution as one of the few optimistic moments with respondents when discussing their 2024 outlook. 

As businesses continue to look for ways to make impactful, cost-effective changes to their facilities without leaving a substantial mark on the quality and quantity of output, many have started turning to companies like Rain Engineering to help prepare them for whatever uncertainties the future may hold. 

Should manufacturers, indeed, encounter an economic downturn in 2024, those that have a plan in place will more than likely be the ones to make it through unscathed. 

… And by having a noticeable Industry 4.0 investment, any company can provide themselves with a little bit of buffer between such hard times and your valuable profits. 

The Wrap Up

Indiana is known as the “Crossroads of America” for a reason… 

The state’s central location in the United States has made it a powerhouse for industry and manufacturing for decades, and, no matter what 2024 holds, this is surely not going to change any time soon. 

That said, industry leaders looking to prepare their facilities for a rough economic turn in 2024 need look no further than Industry 4.0. 

After all, an investment in the digital revolution is one of the most impactful ways you can spend your company’s money. 

… And by teaming up with a qualified team like the one here at Rain Engineering to help make sure you have everything you need to get your digital transformation under way, you can sleep soundly knowing you’re not in this alone. 

If you’re looking to stretch those 2023 dollars to help stabilize your business and prepare for 2024, remember, Rain Engineering is here for you! 

P.S. Interested in getting your facilities digital transformation under way but need a little help preparing your team for the big change? 

Don’t worry, Rain Engineering has you covered! 

Through our latest e-learning opportunities like Manufacturing KnowHow, your team can learn the ins and outs of Industry 4.0 along with the skills required to maintain and build upon your digital investment. 

… And if, through this technological process, you find yourself also needing a little extra help preparing for the changes ahead, don’t worry! One of the best parts about Manufacturing KnowHow is that it’s easy and for everyone! 

Whether you are an executive looking for a way to get everyone on the same page, a front-line worker tasked with selecting technologies, or a user who is being asked for feedback on new systems, using Manufacturing KnowHow can help you accelerate your future ambitions without expensive consultants or misleading technology demonstrations, saving you valuable time, energy and money. 

So what are you waiting for?! 

2024 is upon us and the time to act is NOW! 

Take the necessary steps to get your digital transformation under way today so you will have the education, skills, and tools ready to knock 2024 out of the park!