Economic Update: Labor Shortages and Productivity

By Dr. Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business and Professor of Finance, Indiana University Southeast

Several recent economic releases point to an economy that continues to grow at a brisk rate. The one that really stands out from last week is new claims for unemployment. The latest data on unemployment claims show that national initial claims declined by almost 200,000 in one week. New claims came in at 576,000, clearly the lowest level since the shutdowns of last year. Pre-pandemic claims (early 2020) were in the low 200,000 range, and you must go way back to the late 60s to find initial claims for unemployment lower than 200,000. Keep in mind also that the labor force in the late 1960s was about half the size of the labor force of today.

We can see the labor crunch through some of these numbers. The nation’s labor force hit a trough in April of last year. As some states began to reopen, it climbed in a V-shape fashion until July of last year. Since last July, the size of the nation’s labor force has been stuck around 160 million, plus or minus. As initial unemployment claims continue to decline, and we see robust growth in monthly payroll gains, the labor crunch will only intensify if labor force numbers remain flat.

Last week, industrial production registered the first positive year over year change since August of 2019. How can we be producing more, but with a labor force that has been flat since last July? Employee productivity is the reason. In April of last year, the nation saw the largest increase in productivity since the 1940s! Remember that April was the month that we started seeing massive layoffs. Production did not completely come to a halt in April. Many manufacturers continued to produce and found a way to produce more with fewer employees. We are now about a year past the first economic shutdowns of last year, and some manufacturers are producing more today than a year ago (remember industrial production above). However, the labor force is stuck.

The combination of more production and a stagnant labor force means that employers may begin to see higher wage demands. Employers may be forced to increase wages to attract labor necessary to boost production. Or you could see continued gains to productivity. Employers will need to invest in labor-saving equipment and the nation will see an acceleration toward pre-pandemic trends of more automation. Higher productivity alone implies that wages should also increase. We see this play out in the data. Last year saw the highest jump in average weekly wages since the 1960s, as far back as available in the database!

Let’s see how this is playing out at the local level. Louisville Metro labor force reached a pre-pandemic high of around 685,000 in July 2018 and 2019. Due to seasonality, regional labor force peaks in July of each year. Since August of last year, the labor force for Louisville Metro has been stuck around the 650,000 level. Burning Glass data show that the number of job postings over the past 3 months is about 7,000 higher from August to October of 2020. We know that the unemployment rate is declining as the number of employed continues to increase. This mismatch between labor demand, as evidenced by the increase in job postings, and labor supply, as evidenced by a flat change in labor force, will make it increasingly difficult to find employees.

Moving forward, we will see ongoing challenges surrounding labor force availability. Putting my futuristic hat on for a moment, this will likely accelerate moves to more automation and labor-saving innovations. Productivity will increase even further. Productivity gains also occur with higher skilled employees, and the importance of talent will only intensify as we exit the Covid economy.

Indiana University Southeast Vice Chancellor Uric Dufrene headshot

Economic Update: Leisure and Hospitality

The Covid-19 pandemic brought about the most destructive job losses since the Great Depression. Job losses were heavily concentrated in manufacturing, healthcare, and leisure and hospitality. Last month, this column documented the state of manufacturing. Today, we look at leisure and hospitality.

Leisure and hospitality suffered the largest amount of job losses, both locally and nationally. The economic restrictions required many establishments in the leisure and hospitality sector to either shut down completely or experience a drastic reduction in revenues. Some establishments were able to pivot to online ordering and curbside pickups, but in many cases, this was not close to matching revenue levels in the pre-pandemic environment. Some firms ended up closing altogether, and others closed indefinitely.

The leisure and hospitality supersector consists of two industries: arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. The sector is seasonal, with Louisville Metro employment peaking in July, and usually hitting a trough in December or January. Taking seasonality into consideration, employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is running about 15,000 to 18,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels. These numbers are quite substantial when you consider job losses in prior recessions (the Great Recession saw just about a flat change in leisure and hospitality jobs), but a considerable improvement from the 35,000 total losses experienced last year. Overall job losses are running approximately at 36,000 compared to last year. So leisure and hospitality makes up close to 50% of total job losses.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation is down approximately 1,600 jobs (a 17% decline) in January compared to last year. In the depth of the pandemic, jobs were down approximately 7,000 jobs (a 62% decline from the previous year). The industry is quite broad, including casinos, exercise trainers, museums, ticket takers, dancers and choreographers, and musicians and singers, to name a few.

The largest industry is accommodation and food services. This includes motels and hotels and food and drinking places. In Louisville Metro, food and drinking places is the largest subsector with respect to employment. Food and drinking places employment totaled approximately 40,500 in January 2021 (down 23% from previous year), compared to 52,600 in January 2020. At the depth of the pandemic, food and drinking places were down 24,000 jobs, equivalent to a 45% reduction.

In the five counties of Southern Indiana, approximately 10,000 people were employed by food and drinking places in the first quarter of 2020; 726 were employed by accommodation. Fast forward to the 3rd quarter of 2020 (the most recent available data at the county level), we observe that 9,300 were employed by food and drinking places (a 12% decline from the previous year), and 575 by accommodation (a 23% decline from the previous year). Overall, the five counties are down 3,600 jobs 2020 Q3, compared to 2019 Q3, with leisure and hospitality making up 41% of overall job losses.

What does all this mean?

In a nutshell, the sector has made considerable progress since last April. Obviously, challenges remain, and this varies by the segment of the market an establishment serves. If an establishment relies primarily on local customers, or regional travelers, everything may be back to normal. If an establishment relies on conventions, concerts, and sporting events, the picture is entirely different.

The Year Ahead

The leisure and hospitality sector should expect to see strong growth this year. The roll out of the vaccines, continued relaxation of pandemic restrictions, and significant pent-up demand for travel and leisure experiences will all combine to produce a decent year for 2021. This does not suggest that hurdles do not remain. Until conventions, sporting events, and concerts return, some establishments will see greater obstacles than others. Labor shortages, for various reasons, can place headwinds to some of this growth (if a server is not available for a table, that table does not generate revenue).

Consumers will have the cash to spend. Additional stimulus and high levels of household savings will give consumers the resources to pursue leisure and hospitality. One of the reasons I believe Louisville Metro will recover total job losses late this year (or at least come close) is linked to the progress that will be made in leisure and hospitality.

Data sources: Indiana data: STATS Indiana Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Louisville Metro data on leisure and hospitality employment: FactSet. Louisville arts, entertainment and recreation and accommodation and food services: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Submitted by

By Dr. Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business and Professor of Finance, Indiana University Southeast

The State of Manufacturing—a Brief Review

Early in the pandemic, manufacturing was one of the hardest hit sectors. A complete shutdown in the economy, work stoppages due to the nature of manufacturing floor layouts, and supply chain challenges all played a role in steep manufacturing job losses. Locked in the home with no place to go and few places to spend, and with extra cash due to government stimulus, the seeds were planted for a quick recovery in manufacturing. Consumers then began spending, and were interested in pursuing home improvements, or buying a new home altogether. Consumers bought bikes, appliances, RVs, sporting goods, and anything that would increase their comfort at home, or naturally distance themselves from others (like an RV). Will the consumer continue to drive solid manufacturing activity, or begin to pull back, perhaps resulting in a manufacturing slowdown? Growth will vary by industry, but the evidence continues to point to an overall strong recovery in manufacturing.

Layoffs and Employment
It was almost a year ago when manufacturing began to see substantial layoffs. Locally, layoffs in manufacturing exceeded all other industries. including retail, healthcare, and food and accommodation. Continued claims in manufacturing for both Floyd and Clark exceeded 1,500 at the height of the downturn. The most recent data show that continued claims hover around 150, a 10-fold decline from the peak.

Louisville area manufacturing payrolls have not fully recovered pandemic-induced losses. Manufacturing payrolls were at 82,000 at the start of 2020, and now stand at 80,000. Payrolls had declined to 62,000 in April, which also coincides with the overall bottoming of the economy. Unlike the Great Recession, the recovery has been swifter. It took 6 years to go from 62,000 payrolls to a level of 82,000 following the Great Recession. In the current recession, the region has almost recovered all job losses in a year.

Savings
Considerable challenges remain among some households. The decimation of certain industries due to lockdowns and Covid restrictions have placed uneven burdens on firms and respective employees. Overall, however, the consumer is in great shape. Sky-rocketing savings, and muted delinquency rates (consumer delinquency rates have declined during the pandemic), along with anecdotal evidence of pent-up demand suggest that manufacturing will boom the rest of the year, and into next. The most recent savings rate was at 13.7%, and this is the highest since the 1970s. During the Great Recession, savings rates had reached a high of a little more than 8%. During the Covid-19 recession, savings rates had reached an unheard level of 33%! The consumer is ready to spend even more and has the means to do so. Some of these savings will return to services (dining out, vacations), but the demand for goods is expected to continue.

Institute for Supply Management Index
The ISM Report on Manufacturing showed a deep contraction back in April, but the sector has been expanding since. An ISM reading above 50 points to expansion, and below 50 indicate contraction. The latest reading of 60 points to solid growth. If we examine the ISM coming out of prior recessions, 60 is one of the strongest numbers. One would have to go back to the recession of the early 80s to find an ISM higher than 60 upon exiting a recession.

Inventories
Inventory readings provide an indication of the potential growth pipeline in manufacturing. Excessive inventories relative to demand can spell trouble for manufacturing, but lean levels can portend solid growth. The inventory to sales ratio combines inventory levels and demand, as measured through sales, and is an indicator of upcoming manufacturing activity.

The latest reading on the inventory to sales ratio stands at 1.36 and can be interpreted as the average number of months it takes to sell off inventories. How does this 1.36 compare to previous readings? Back in April 2020, the inventory to sales ratio ballooned up to 1.66, the highest number going back to 1991. The shutdown of the nation’s economy gave consumers few places to spend money, and consequently this led to shelves that were overstocked. As we all know, this did not last long. The inventory to sales ratio then began to plummet over the past year and is now at the lowest level since 2012.

What is the significance to Louisville Metro manufacturing? The year of 2012 marked the highest year over year growth in Louisville area manufacturing since 1991. In essence, this was the “shelf-restocking” phase following the Great Recession, and the region saw very high percentage growth in manufacturing as a result. To be sure, year over year growth in manufacturing payroll growth remains negative, but in a better position than other sectors. Only two sectors are showing positive year over year growth: retail trade (surprisingly) and transportation and utilities. Low inventory levels, relative to sales, and pent-up demand from the consumer will combine to produce strong growth for area manufacturing this year.

Durable Goods Orders
Durable goods are longer lasting and have a life that exceeds 3 years. Think appliances, computers, automobiles, and machinery. As an indicator, durables goods orders provide a signal of future manufacturing activity. Prior to the pandemic, growth in durable goods was sluggish. Uncertainty around trade policy produced reluctance among manufacturers, and this showed up in an overall decline in durable goods orders from the peak of 2018 to February 2020. The pandemic then led to a massive decline in durable goods orders that bottomed out in April 2020. Since then, durable goods have been on the upswing. While levels have yet to return to the peak of 2018, durable goods are significantly higher than levels that existed following the Great Recession, and higher than levels that existed during 2012, the year that was associated with strong manufacturing employment growth for Louisville Metro.

Summary
Manufacturing suffered some of the deepest job losses, but these losses were transitory. As we begin 2021, signs are pointing to a very good year for manufacturing. Manufacturing does not hold the number of jobs it once did, `but is still one of the key sectors for the entire region. The overall positive outlook for manufacturing is one of the reasons Louisville Metro should fully recover total job losses by year end.

By Dr. Uric Dufrene, Sanders Chair in Business and Professor of Finance, Indiana University Southeast

J. Knipper and Company, Inc., Announces Expansion at Charlestown, Ind., Facility

Charlestown, Ind. (February 15, 2021) – Representatives of One Southern Indiana (1si), working in partnership with the River Ridge Development Authority and J. Knipper and Company, Inc. (Knipper), announced today the expansion of the current Knipper distribution center at 1250 Patrol Road.  The expansion of this facility will consist of an additional 150,000-square-foot of space, including a refrigerator which can hold 1,500 pallets and a drive-in freezer.  The company, which provides complete supply chain services to the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and is the largest provider of samples management services, anticipates making a capital investment of $17.4 million and increasing its workforce by 38 employees by the end of 2024.

Knipper’s CEO Mike Laferrera stated, “Our mission is to work with our clients to create solutions that are strategically designed, faithfully executed, and driven by market insight and data to ensure maximum return on our clients’ investments, and ultimately to improve people’s lives. The expansion of our Charlestown, Ind., facility will help us work toward that, and we appreciate the State of Indiana, the City of Charlestown, River Ridge Commerce Center and 1si for helping us expand to meet new demands.”

The company, which established the Charlestown distribution center in 2016, was founded in 1986, and it is headquartered in Lakewood, N.J.  Known for being an integral part of the communities in which it is located, Knipper has been awarded the Clara Barton Corporate Humanitarian Award by the American Red Cross and the Corporate Citizen of the Year award by Catholic Charities for volunteer efforts by Knipper employees.

Mayor of Charlestown, Dr. Treva Hodges, said, “On behalf of the City of Charlestown, I’d like to congratulate J. Knipper and Company on their recent announcement.  It is always great news for Charlestown when a company like Knipper announces the addition of more than 35 jobs with wages 25 percent above the Clark County average.  We wish them the best of luck and stand ready to assist in any way we can.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Knipper up to $400,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired.

“Indiana has a legacy of life sciences excellence with companies like Knipper continuing to grow in our state,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “Approximately 2,100 life sciences companies in Indiana employ 56,000 Hoosiers, and as a state, we’ll keep providing a top-ranked business environment so companies like Knipper have the confidence to invest in their Indiana operations and add high-quality career opportunities.”

Located between Charlestown and Jeffersonville, Ind., Knipper’s facility is situated in the River Ridge Commerce Center, a world-class 6,000-acre business and manufacturing park under development along the Ohio River, across from Louisville, Ky. Recently, the River Ridge Commerce Center reported increased employment, expanded development and generated an increase of $2.5 billion in economic output in 2019 alone — the largest output from the business park since it opened.

“We are ecstatic that Knipper has decided to expand and reinvest in its operations at the River Ridge Commerce Center. When the company opened at River Ridge, we knew it was the kind of innovative, growth-oriented employer that could thrive in a new home at River Ridge,” said Jerry Acy, executive director of the River Ridge Commerce Center. “The River Ridge Development Authority will continue to invest in infrastructure and amenities, so River Ridge remains an appealing location for Knipper and other firms serving the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.”

“Five years ago, we welcomed Knipper into the Southern Indiana business community, and this will be the company’s second expansion since the initial build in 2016.  While that kind of success is due to the hard work of Knipper’s employees and forward-thinking management, we believe choosing to locate and grow within the River Ridge Commerce Center, and the State of Indiana itself, contributed to the active growth the company has experienced. As always, 1si is happy to have played a small role in this notable achievement and looks forward to working with Knipper in the future,” said 1si President and CEO Wendy Dant Chesser.

 About J. Knipper and Company, Inc.:
For 35 years, J. Knipper and Company, Inc. has been purpose-built on a strong foundation of healthcare service, support, and excellence. The largest U.S. provider of sampling distribution, Knipper also provides prescriber validation, sample accountability, web ordering solutions and third-party logistics services to the Pharmaceutical and Life Science Industries. The company has locations throughout New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, and California. For more information on J. Knipper and Company, please visit www.knipper.com.

 About One Southern Indiana:
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses thrive in the Southern Indiana and metro area.

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business Resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; Economic Development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; Advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in the initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org

 Media Contacts:

J. Knipper and Company, Inc.
Eric Johnson
Chief Commercial Growth Office
908.447.1047
Eric.Johnson@knipper.com 

One Southern Indiana
Suzanne Ruark
Director, Marketing and Communications
suzanner@1si.org

Multi-Color Corporation Announces Plan to Expand in Scottsburg, Ind.

Multi-Color Corporation Announces Plan to Expand in Scottsburg, Ind.

Company Looks to Grow Operations and Workforce

Scottsburg, Ind. (February 5, 2021) – Representatives of One Southern Indiana (1si), working in support of the Scott County Economic Development Corporation, and Multi-Color Corporation, a label printing company located at 2281 South U.S. Highway 31, Scottsburg, will appear before the Scottsburg City Council on Monday, February 8, 2021, to ask for a resolution in support of tax incentives for a planned expansion. The company would like to make a capital investment of $7.7 million and increase its workforce.

Multi-Color Corporation is a leader in global label solutions with more than 103 years of experience. The company supports a number of the world’s most prominent brands including leading producers of home and personal care, wine and spirits, food and beverage, healthcare and specialty consumer products.

“The City of Scottsburg is excited about Multi-Color Corporation’s current success and the possibility of the company expanding its capabilities to accommodate this new phase of its business,” said Scottsburg Mayor Terry Amick. “The capital investment of $7.7 million in its facility here is a big win for the city and the region as a whole. We look forward to working with Multi-Color Corporation on their proposal and in the years to come.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Multi-Color Corporation up to $425,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired.

“We’re excited to support Multi-Color Corporation’s Scottsburg expansion,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “Being a global company, Multi-Color Corporation had a world of options to expand, but we’re grateful the company chose to expand its Indiana operations and create more career opportunities for Hoosiers.”

President and CEO of 1si Wendy Dant Chesser said, “1si is happy to be working in support of the Scott County Economic Development Corporation and Multi-Color Corporation on this exciting expansion. The fact the company is considering an expansion in Scottsburg is a good economic indicator for the city, county, and the region. 1si stands ready to assist in any way we can.”

About Multi-Color Corporation
A true global label solutions provider, Multi-Color Corporation is one of the largest label companies in the world in the following market segments: beverage, wine and spirits, food and dairy, personal care and beauty, home care and laundry, healthcare, durables and technical and automotive and chemicals.

Established in 1916 and headquartered near Cincinnati, Ohio, Multi-Color Corporation has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most awarded label printers today supporting the world’s most prominent brands. In 2016, Multi-Color celebrated its 100th year in business. For more information on Multi-Color Corporation, visit www.mcclabel.com.

About Scott County Economic Development Corporation
Representing Scott County, Indiana, it is the mission of the Scott County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) to offer the best services for thriving new and existing industries, while expanding future opportunities for Scott County residents through the jobs and benefits successful businesses and industries create. Our dedicated team is focused on helping local businesses and entrepreneurs thrive, and businesses outside of the area relocate, by providing the services they need to increase sales, add jobs and expand operations. We assist businesses with everything from keeping costs low to building or expanding multi-million-dollar facilities.

SCEDC also offers comprehensive facility location services, from initial contact through site location to future growth and expansion. In essence, we provide “one-stop shopping” for your relocation and expansion needs. For more information, visit our website at www.scottcountyin.com.

About One Southern Indiana:
One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses thrive in the Southern Indiana and metro area.

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business Resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; Economic Development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; Advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in the initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org.

Media Contacts:
Scott County Economic Development Corporation
Terry Amick
Mayor of Scottsburg
812.722.5039
tamick@cityofscottsburg.com

One Southern Indiana
Suzanne Ruark
Director, Marketing and Communications
812.206.9050
suzanner@1si.org

IQPack, LLC, Plans Expansion of Operations in New Albany, Ind.

IQPack, LLC, Plans Expansion of Operations in New Albany, Ind.

Company Estimates Potential Hiring of 55 People at Four Times the Floyd County Average Wage

New Albany, Ind. (January 8, 2021) – Representatives of One Southern Indiana (1si), the chamber of commerce and economic development organization for Clark and Floyd counties, and IQPack, LLC, a packaging and supply-chain solutions company based in New Albany, Ind., will appear before the city redevelopment commission on January 12, 2021. The company has plans for an expansion of its current operations at 3000 Technology Avenue to accommodate a new two-year software development contract.

Company leaders will request consideration for incentives in the form of training reimbursement funds up to $10,000 annually for up to three years.  Should the commission offer incentives, they would be contingent upon Floyd County citizens being hired.  If approved, the $1.17-million-dollar project will require the hiring of more than 50 high-skilled employees, such as packaging engineers, supply-chain experts and software developers with an average wage approximately four times the Floyd County average hourly wage.

“There is a major need for what we do, as many e-commerce and manufacturing companies are struggling to optimize their packaging operations and shipments to support more efficient supply chains. This has been a consistent problem in the industry for generations,” said John Moore, co-Founder and director of packaging for IQPack.

“Packaging is the vital thread connecting all parts of an operation such as materials cost, handling and storage, labor productivity, transportation cube and sustainability. We bring unique expertise, a laser focus, and passion to harness the value of packaging innovation, along with the proper tools to ensure a positive impact in all these areas,” said Moore.

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said, “While the Midwest is known as the manufacturing hub of the nation, the City of New Albany is also an ideal location for technology-driven companies looking for a smart, highly-skilled labor force.  The planned expansion of IQPack illustrates this point perfectly, and the City of New Albany will continue to assist the company in its efforts to grow and succeed.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered IQPack up to $1.5 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired.

“With a strong logistics industry and thriving tech ecosystem, Indiana offers companies like IQPack the perfect location to scale up their operations,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We’re excited to continue supporting IQPack’s growth in New Albany and grateful for the company’s commitment to expanding its operations and creating high-wage career opportunities in Southern Indiana.”

IQPack is known for its unique, performance-based operating model, Packaging-as-a-Service, or PaaS.  The model is anchored in industry-leading packaging solutions that drive positive effects across customers’ total cost of supply chain.  Services include comprehensive, diagnostic packaging innovation combined with a team of packaging, supply chain and logistics experts. IQPack also utilizes powerful data analytics tools through its PACKCHAIN technology, which provides key operational assessments, on-going solution management, and operational dashboards for performance tracking.

“We’re creating solutions for our customers that drive predictable and sustainable results, year after year. We utilize many key tools to ensure packaging optimization brings real value to our customers’ material spend, labor efficiency, parcel and load spend management and sustainability goals such as reducing waste, returns, and damage.” said Doug Jones, IQPack’s co-founder and chief operating officer.

“It’s time to elevate the expectations and performance of packaging across the entire industry. Packaging material costs are important, but they represent only nine percent of the total supply-chain cost for our customers. Our PaaS model also attacks the other 91 percent of costs, and it reflects very positively on the customer experience, service metrics, and profitability of large shippers,” said Moore. “This expansion is the next stage of IQPack’s evolution, and we’re excited about the possibility of doing it here in New Albany.”

John Moore founded IQPack in 2013. The company recently went through a rebranding effort which included changing the name of the company from Packaging and Logistics Solutions. The new name and brand better reflect the innovative, technology-savvy approach the company is taking.

“The expansion of IQPack would be a big win for the community and a great way to start 2021,” said 1si President and CEO Wendy Dant Chesser. “The growth and current success of this home-grown, high-tech company send a signal to other interested businesses that Southern Indiana is the right location for high-wage, high-skilled operations. We congratulate IQPack on this fantastic news and thank them for considering New Albany for these extremely desired career opportunities.”

All business inquiries for IQPack must be directed to the company’s website at www.theiqpack.com.

About IQPack, LLC

 IQPack, LLC, which was founded by John Moore as Packaging and Logistics Solutions in New Albany, Indiana, in 2013, has grown and flourished as a high-tech, packaging solutions company with a reputation for innovation and customer satisfaction. Guided by seasoned leaders of the packaging and global operations industries, our team of best-in-class packaging, logistics, and data analytics experts have a genuine passion to live our core values of integrity, innovation, customer focus, community, and family. IQPack, LLC, developed a unique “Packaging-as-a-Service,” or PaaS, model, which is designed to utilize progressive packaging optimization solutions that drive cost savings and operating efficiencies across 100-percent of our clients’ supply chains. The company is also known for PackChain, a proprietary, data analytics software platform that supports the PaaS model, providing objective analysis, broad solution features sets and a performance tracking capability for all key cost centers within our customers total supply chain operations. Given the steady growth in the company’s customer base of e-commerce and manufacturing, the team at IQPack, LLC, is focused on continuing its track record of success in meeting and exceeding the goals of its clients. For more information, visit www.theiqpack.com.

About One Southern Indiana:

One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to help businesses thrive in the Southern Indiana and metro area.

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business Resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; Economic Development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; Advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in the initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org

 Media Contact:

IQPack, LLC

https://theiqpack.com/contact-iqpack/

 

One Southern Indiana

Suzanne Ruark

Director, Marketing and Communications

812.206.9050

suzanner@1si.org

Survey Results: Employers Expand Efforts to Attract, Retain Talent; Update on COVID-19 Impacts

Employers are aggressively taking proactive steps to try and solve some of the workforce challenges that have been prevalent in recent years. The findings are illustrated in the 13th annual employer workforce survey from the Indiana Chamber and its Institute for Workforce Excellence®.

Skillful Indiana was the lead sponsor of the survey, with support from Amatrol and WGU Indiana. There were 937 responses (during a two-week period in mid-September) across a broad range of industries.

“For years, we have heard leaders in the business community lament the lack of skilled employees to meet their workforce needs,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “It appears they are now tackling the issue head-on, offering additional opportunities to attract talent for today and tomorrow.”

To view a summary of the survey, click here.

Economic Update: Transportation and Warehousing Job Gains

The pandemic-induced recession is the greatest shock to the economy since the Great Depression. National unemployment rates did not quite approach numbers observed during the Depression, but the sudden rise in job losses is unparallel. Regionally, similar patterns were observed.

Employment losses for the five-county region were just above 30,000, far exceeding losses in the Great Recession. Employment, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, does not consider county residence. For example, a resident of Floyd County may be working in Jefferson County, KY, and that person will show up as employed and as a member of the Floyd County labor force. When we refer to the 30,000 employment losses across the five-county region in Southern Indiana, some of the associated job losses occurred in Kentucky. Given that more than 35,000 Hoosiers commute to Kentucky daily for work, that is a reasonable conclusion.

Up until now, the only payroll data available for Southern Indiana was for the first quarter of 2020, just before the shutdown of the economy. The first quarter showed slightly positive job gains, but the largest increase occurred in transportation and warehousing, adding 900 jobs. Removing the job gains from public administration, which were linked to the Census, transportation and warehousing jobs easily exceeded all industries combined.

We now have county payrolls data from the 2nd quarter, and the results were expected. Keep in mind that April will go down as the bottom of the current recession. Job losses were severe and abrupt. During the Great Recession, it took a year for unemployment claims to peak. In 2020 recession, unemployment claims peaked in two weeks. The five-county Southern Indiana region saw total job losses of approximately 11,500, about double the losses that occurred during the Great Recession. Like the first quarter, transportation and warehousing saw significant gains, adding 1,776 jobs. The three industries with the highest job losses: manufacturing, accommodation and food services, and health care and social services. Third quarter data will be out around February 2021, and we will see a complete reversal of the job losses that occurred in the second quarter.

More recently, we see that job postings in the Transportation and Material Moving Occupation Family far exceed other occupation families. In the past 30 days, job postings in the transportation and material moving family were almost at 700, and healthcare practitioners were almost 450. Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Driver was the dominant position in the transportation family, and registered nurse for the healthcare family of occupations.

The 2020 recession accelerated some trends that have been in development for several years. One of the more noticeable perhaps has been in online shopping. While this trend could both favorably and adversely impact some local retailers, the region stands to benefit primarily through the agglomeration of transportation and warehousing companies. This has been evident in 2020 with transportation and warehousing being the big job generator for the entire region.

Note: Job postings data source: Burning Glass; County payrolls data source: STATS Indiana Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages; County employment data source: FactSet

Gird_Blue

Parker HVAC Filtration Division Announces Multi-Year Investment to Increase Production

JEFFERSONVILLE, IND. (October 1, 2020) – With the assistance of One Southern Indiana (1si), the chamber of commerce and local economic development organization for Clark and Floyd counties, Ind., the HVAC Filtration Division of Parker Hannifin Corporation announced today a significant multi-year investment in its Jeffersonville location, in the River Ridge Commerce Center.

The investment will support increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has expanded the need for air filtration products for industrial and work environments. This project will allow the company to ramp up manufacturing capacity, and associated job growth, to produce HEPA filter products as well as filters used in medical and lab settings.

“Parker is excited to announce this investment in the future of our Jeffersonville facility. By adding new state-of-the-art equipment and manufacturing technologies, this project will enable us to expand our production capacity and continue providing our customers with advanced filtration solutions, including critical products that are currently supporting the front-line effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” said Jon Gallisdorfer, General Manager, Parker HVAC Filtration Division. “We greatly appreciate the support of our partners at the River Ridge Development Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for their help in making this initiative possible.”

Formerly known as CLARCOR Air Filtration Products, Inc., the Jeffersonville facility was purchased by Parker Hannifin Corporation, the global leader in motion and control technologies, as part of the company’s acquisition of CLARCOR Inc. in February 2017.  The HVAC Filtration Division provides filters that are critical in saving lives in the healthcare sector, while also providing important daily living protection in the consumer arena and ongoing livestock virus protection in the agriculture and farming sectors.

“We are pleased to see the companies in the River Ridge Commerce Center continuing to expand,” said Executive Director Jerry Acy. “Our central location and world-class amenities have made River Ridge a preferred location to not only attract new business but allow healthy businesses to grow as well. Companies like Parker HVAC Filtration Division understand we have all the components to make them successful now and in the future: location, access to major interstates, waterways and rail, modern infrastructure and a competitive tax environment.”

HVAC Filtration was offered conditional tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired.

“Parker Hannifin is manufacturing a critical product for both the health care sector and everyday consumers, and as the Crossroads of America, Indiana couldn’t be a more ideal place for them to grow,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “As a state, we’re committed to supporting their long-term growth, and I’m excited to see the impact this expansion has on our state and on the community of Jeffersonville.”

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said, “We are excited to support Jeffersonville’s growing business community, and the continuing expansion of manufacturers like Parker helps to ensure the reopening and rebuilding of the Southern Indiana economy will be steady and continue on an upward trajectory.”

1si President and CEO Wendy Dant Chesser said, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge businesses in all sorts of new ways, some have been able to do exceptionally well considering the circumstances. Parker’s HVAC Filtration Division offers a product in demand for our new reality and we congratulate them for seizing this opportunity to increase manufacturing of products in need by front line workers as well as everyday citizens.”

About Parker Hannifin

Parker Hannifin is a Fortune 250 global leader in motion and control technologies. For more than a century the company has been enabling engineering breakthroughs that lead to a better tomorrow. Learn more at www.parker.com or @parkerhannifin.

About Parker HVAC Filtration Division

Parker’s HVAC Filtration Division is a leading manufacturer of HVAC filtration products for commercial, industrial, and institutional applications. Offering the broadest line of filtration products in the industry, Parker’s HVAC products are improving the quality of air around the world. Learn more about Parker’s HVAC Filtration Division at www.parker.com/hvac.

About One Southern Indiana:

One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 from the economic development organization serving Clark and Floyd counties and the chamber of commerce. 1si’s mission is to help businesses thrive in the Southern Indiana and metro area.

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; economic development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; and advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in the initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business-friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. For more information on One Southern Indiana: www.1si.org

Kenco-logo

Kenco Logistics Opens E-Commerce Fulfillment and Distribution Center in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Kenco logoJEFFERSONVILLE, IND. (July 21, 2020) Kenco Logistic Services, LLC, a Tennessee-based logistics company, has announced plans to open a new fulfillment and distribution center in the River Ridge Commerce Center. The 250,000-square-foot leased facility will operate at 201 River Ridge Parkway in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Kenco Logistics is the largest woman-owned, third-party, logistics company in the United States. The company provides integrated logistics solutions, including distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management and material handling services, as well as real estate management and information technology.

Over the past 70 years, the company has grown to include more than 50 warehouse locations throughout the United State and has been honored with a number of awards, including Inbound Logistics’ Top Ten 3PL Inbound Logistics Excellence Awards (2012-2019) and Top Green Supply Chain Partner Inbound Logistics (2011-2019).

“With this new facility, our customers will be able to access more of their growing customer base with increased ease,” said Dan Coll, vice president of e-commerce fulfilment at Kenco. “We are excited to present these advantages to businesses as they look to adjust to the ever-changing e-commerce environment.”

The new facility will help serve the increasing demand for transportation of e-commerce products.  According to Forbes magazine, U.S. retailers’ online year-over-year revenue growth is up 68 percent as of mid-April, and there’s been a 129 percent year-over-year growth in U.S. and Canadian e-commerce orders as of April 21, 2020, with 146-percent growth in all online retail orders.

“Jeffersonville is ideally situated for a company like Kenco Logistics to continue to grow and succeed,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. “Not only do we have a great community with hard-working citizens, but we are also located in a perfect spot, within a day’s drive to 75 percent of the country’s markets, with three major interstates and two new bridges.  The city is pleased with Kenco’s decision to locate here and stands ready to assist them any way we can.”

“We are pleased that another national leader in logistics has recognized the value of locating at the River Ridge Commerce Center,” said Jerry Acy, executive director of the River Ridge Development Authority. “We look forward to welcoming Kenco to the River Ridge family and supporting the company’s growth in Southern Indiana. Our central location and world-class amenities have made River Ridge a preferred location for numerous logistics, manufacturing, and supply-chain management companies. These firms see that we have all the components to make them successful: location, access to major interstates, waterways and rail, modern infrastructure and a competitive tax environment.”

Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, said, “As we all work together to restart our economy, we’re pleased to welcome a well-established and respected company like Kenco Logistics to our community!  By attracting companies that pay wages above the county average, families in Southern Indiana can start to manage their household recovery and financial stabilization, as well.  This is a great win for the River Ridge Commerce Center, the City of Jeffersonville and everyone who assisted in the project, and we look forward to partnering with Kenco Logistics in the future.”  

About Kenco Logistic Services, LLC:

Kenco provides integrated logistics solutions that include distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management, material handling services, real estate management, and information technology—all engineered for Operational Excellence. Woman-owned and financially strong, Kenco has built lasting customer relationships for more than 60 years. Kenco’s focus is on common sense solutions that drive uncommon value. Also, connect with Kenco on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Kenco Blog.

About One Southern Indiana

One Southern Indiana (1si) was formed in July of 2006 as the economic development organization and chamber of commerce serving Clark and Floyd counties. 1si’s mission is to provide the connections, resources and services that help businesses innovate and thrive in the Southern Indiana / Louisville metro area.

Since its inception, the organization has evolved to include a three-prong approach to serve its members and investors. Business Resources, as the chamber side of the organization, encompasses membership, signature events and programs which support and encourage business growth; Economic Development works to grow the regional economy through the attraction of new commerce and assists with retention and expansion of existing businesses; Advocacy supports businesses at the government level by engaging in the initiatives to preserve, protect and promote a business-friendly environment free of obstacles to growth and development of commerce. For more information on One Southern Indiana, visit www.1si.org.

Contact:     

Debra Phillips
Kenco Logistics
Debra.Phillips@kencogroup.com
Office: 423-643-3473
Cell: 904-955-1008

Suzanne Ruark
One Southern Indiana
suzanner@1si.org
812-206-9050