Manufacturing companies are in the middle of a steady - albeit slow - recovery. In Indiana, roughly 60 percent of the 100,000 jobs that were lost in the last few years have returned to the state, The Associated Press reports.
According to the news source, although manufacturing staffing is up, wages appear to be staying low. The average manufacturing paycheck in Indiana has risen to $23.50 per hour. Although it is an increase, it hasn't quite kept up with the rate of inflation. Once this is factored in, many manufacturing workers are earning about $1.07 less than they were before the recession.
Manufacturers in the area say keeping wages low is the only way to compete with outsourced work in foreign countries, where the same work can be done for a much lower cost. The industry is also at an advantage due to the state's struggling job market, because it still pays better than most other industries, the media outlet stated.
"There's still quite a few former autoworkers that would probably still be happy to have any jobs at all," said Timothy Slaper, director of economic analysis at Indiana University's Indiana Business Research Center. "That supply, no doubt, is suppressing wages to a degree."
Michael Kent Hanlon, 50, said that currently, the most available jobs are through temporary staffing agencies. After suffering an injury as a construction electrician and losing his job, Hanlon found a job as a welder.
Indiana isn't alone in the resurgence of manufacturing jobs. In Oklahoma, manufacturing staffing is increasing in Tulsa, which recently cracked the Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of the top ten metro areas for manufacturing in the country. According to NBC affiliate News 2, the Tulsa Metro Chamber stated about 80 percent of new manufacturing positions came from businesses that already have a foundation in the area and are expanding.
However, the city is still looking to bring new businesses in.
"We will probably use this ranking as a marketing piece to go out to both corporate real estate executives and to site consultants across the country," said Jim Fram, a member of the Chamber.
Manufacturing activity is expected to continue to grow throughout the country, leading to increased hiring in the sector.