The Cities of Indiana with the Highest Job Opportunities

The Cities of Indiana with the Highest Job Opportunities

With so much uncertainty about what will happen with the economy, it can be difficult to identify where to go as a rental property investor.

In the midwest, where many cities are still reeling from the decline of the manufacturing industry, a key beacon to follow is employment opportunities. Despite everything else happening in the local economy, real estate prices in a state are more likely to remain strong when job prospects attract people to the area.

In Indiana, a handful of markets are outshining others when it comes to employment opportunities. Indianapolis has seen over $6.5-billion in acquisitions and IPOs from tech companies over the past 20 years from big brands like Salesforce, Genesys, and Appirio. Future job growth is expected to hit 37.5% in primary technology, manufacturing, life sciences, and motorsports sectors.

Indianapolis is just one of many markets in Indiana with growth in the forecast. If you’re considering investing in rental property in the Hoosier State, here are five cities with the best job opportunities.

Pro tip: Before you decide to buy, it’s always a good idea to calculate your expected ROI on a new property. Baselane’s Rental Property ROI Calculator can help you make the right decision for your landlord business.

1. Lafayette

  • Top employers: Purdue University, Wabash, Subaru, Caterpillar
  • Total employment: 104,300
  • Projected employment growth by 2030: +6.2%
  • Fastest growing employment sectors: Food service, home healthcare, Industrial engineering & mechanics

    Just 63 miles northwest of Indianapolis, Greater Lafayette is home to 200,000 Hoosiers and Purdue University’s flagship campus.

At the heart of the area’s growth is the Discovery Park District at Purdue, a massive mixed-use development spanning 400 acres. The $1-billion project is in the early days of its 30-year master plan and is already making its mark. The district is ranked #1 in the country for career opportunities by SmartAsset and has attracted over 35 major companies to the area, including Bayer, Rolls-Royce, and Saab. It also boasts the top-ranked K-12 public school district in the state.

Growth in Lafayette hasn’t been restricted to Purdue, however. Much of Lafayette’s growth is owed to cooperation among the City of Lafayette, West Lafayette, and other regional stakeholders. Greater Lafayette’s economic development engine operates under a unified brand with a mission to strengthen the region “through new business development, residential growth, and a continued sense of community pride.” Projects underway include a complete overhaul of a decaying part of downtown, an $18-million mixed-use development, and an extensive renovation to the historic Lafayette Theater.

2. Fort Wayne

  • Top employers: Parkview Health, GE Power Conversion, Sweetwater Sound
  • Total employment: 227,800
  • Projected employment growth by 2030: +6.0%
  • Fastest growing employment sectors: Food service, nursing, medical and health services management

Indiana’s second-largest city, Fort Wayne, is also one of the state’s fastest-growing; it was the 2nd-fastest growing metro in the Great Lakes region in 2021. As information workers continue to leave crowded city centers in favor of medium-sized cities, Fort Wayne benefits from the right combination of services and geography (it’s within driving distance of Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Louisville, as well as Indianapolis).

Growth is in the forecast for Fort Wayne. Its economic development engine aims to “build a nationally recognized economy,” which is already reflected in development projects around the city. The reinvention of downtown’s General Electric campus into a mixed-use space has been called one of the largest redevelopment projects in the country. Additionally, Star Financial bank is establishing its headquarters in the city, and improvements to Fort Wayne International Airport are underway.

As an investor, you’ll also appreciate that Fort Wayne has some of the most affordable real estate in the country. The median home listing sits at just $215,000, and single-family homes can easily be found for less than $100,000.

3. Fishers

  • Top employers: Hamilton Southeastern Schools, Navient, City of Fishers
  • Total employment: 75,270
  • Projected employment growth by 2030: +9.2%
  • Fastest growing employment sectors: Nursing, food service, home healthcare, software development

A suburb of Indianapolis with a population of just under 100,000, Fishers is a bright spot in Central Indiana. Most of the city’s growth has happened within the past 30 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The city has announced $1.1-billion in economic investments this year, the centerpiece of which is an 8,500-seat event center that will be home to the Chicago Blackhawks’ minor-league affiliate, the Indy Fuel.

The Fishers District expansion includes a new condominium community and a mixed-use development with office space, retail space, luxury apartments, and a hotel. A glass manufacturing company is investing $512-million to build a 200,000-square-foot facility in Fishers, and Andretti Autosport has announced plans for a $200-million headquarters in the city.

While large, single-family homes are the current standard in Fishers, the city’s continuing growth could soon open up opportunities for multi-unit developments. The city is projecting population growth of 30% and job growth of 42% by 2040.

4. Indianapolis

  • Top employers: St. Vincent Hospitals, IU Health, Eli Lilly
  • Total employment: 1,118,500
  • Projected employment growth by 2030: +9.2%
  • Fastest growing employment sectors: Nursing, food service, home healthcare, software development

Our tour of Indiana continues in the capital city of Indianapolis: home of the Colts, the Pacers, and the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This city is home to 887,000 residents and a handful of Fortune 500 companies, including pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and health insurance leader Anthem, which recently rebranded as Elevance Health.

The city is building on its history as a distribution and logistics hub and, in addition to its thriving medical sciences sector, has attracted thousands of tech jobs over the past decade. Projects currently underway include a 150-acre industrial park in the city’s east end, a $200-million redevelopment of Lafayette Square Mall, and a 45-acre campus for Elanco Animal Health.

Indy’s growth is already reflected in its job numbers, and opportunities are forecasted to continue growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Indianapolis metro area added some 36,000 jobs from July 2021 to July 2022, and its unemployment rate reached a low of 1.4% in December 2021. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the region is expected to add 95,500 jobs by 2030.

5. Mishawaka

  • Top employers: University of Notre Dame, Martin’s Super Markets, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center
  • Total employment: 140,100
  • Projected employment growth by 2030: +6.6%
  • Fastest growing employment sectors: food service, home healthcare, industrial engineering & mechanics

In northwest Indiana, just a two-hour drive from Chicago, you’ll find the City of Mishawaka, with a population of just over 50,000. The city punches above its weight class as a transportation hub and is served by I-90 and two major railroads. Logistics companies like FedEx and USPS have taken advantage of this by making Mishawaka their regional headquarters.

Signs of growth in Mishawaka include a 16,500-square-foot medical facility, a proposed regional athletics facility, and a major wellfield and water treatment plant. Residential developments will add 100 apartments and 30 family homes to the area. And the city is redeveloping a former insurance building into a city services center that will become city hall, police headquarters, and home to other municipal offices.

According to the household survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Mishawaka area (including next-door neighbor, South Bend) added just shy of 6,000 jobs last year. While the city still has work to do to reach its pre-pandemic high, employment numbers are promising.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to invest in rental property in Indiana, job opportunities are plentiful in Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Indianapolis, and Mishawaka. Start your property search in one of these markets to find the right investment opportunity for you.

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