Indiana, which was the face of U.S. manufacturing's struggles during the recession, enjoyed its second straight year of industrial-employment gains, according to data from Manufacturers' News Inc.
The Hoosier State gained 8,020 manufacturing jobs from April 2012 to April 2013, according to Manufacturers' News, which publishes industrial directories and databases.
"Indiana's industrial climate continues to improve," said Tom Dubin, president of Evanston, Ill.-based Manufacturers' News.
"The state's reasonable labor costs, friendly business environment and ideal location for the shipment of goods has resulted in many companies reinvesting in its manufacturing sector, particularly those in the automotive and transportation-equipment industries."
With the 1.4 percent gain in employment over the past year, Indiana now has 556,357 manufacturing workers at 9,698 industrial firms, according to Manufacturers' News.
The state's bread-and-butter automotive sector has driven Indiana's comeback, with Chrysler, Subaru and Toyota expanding production at their respective facilities in the Hoosier State, and a number of automotive suppliers following suit.
Employment in the transportation-equipment sector, which includes automotive manufacturing, grew by 4.7 percent over the past year, to 81,567 jobs.
Employment in industrial machinery and equipment, Indiana's second-largest manufacturing sector, grew by 1 percent, to 69,866 jobs.
Other positive news in the state included L&E Engineering's announcement of its expansion in Greenwood; Eli Lily's plans to expand its insulin plant in Indianapolis; and the opening of Dow AgroSciences' new R&D facility at its global headquarters in Indianapolis (pictured above).
Indianapolis remains the state's top city for manufacturing employment, home to 73,527 jobs, down a half percent over the survey period.
Second-ranked Fort Wayne is home to 25,629 jobs, up 1.7 percent over the past 12 months, according to Manufacturers' News.