The top industries and employers in the Indy metro area

Learn about the biggest industries and employers in the Indy metro area with this guide to local business.

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The Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in Indianapolis at 811 ft tall. | Photo by @iandefelice

Table of Contents

More than 517,000 people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to Indy’s economy. But have you ever wondered about the Circle City’s heaviest hitters?

Consider this Indy Business 101 — your guide to our region’s six key industries and three major employers.

Note: When we say Indy metro area, that refers to Marion County.

The key industries

We’re breaking down the six key industries that represent the Indy metro area’s economy, based on data from Indy Chamber of Commerce. We’ve listed them in order of top employment numbers.

Logistics | 109,000 employees
Indiana is known as the crossroads of America, so naturally, logistics companies in Indy are mainly involved in transportation and distribution activities. Logistics activities in Indianapolis are concentrated in two areas: air transportation + storage and fulfillment services. Major employers include Express Scripts, Amazon, and FedEx.

Manufacturing | 88,000 employees
Indiana has the highest percentage of its workforce employed in manufacturing, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Allison Transmission, Nice Pak, and Red Gold are among the leading manufacturing businesses that operate in the Indy area.

Information Technology | 22,000 employees
When you think of this industry, you may also think of the tallest building in the Indy skyline. Indianapolis has a strong niche in marketing technology, thanks to major employers like Salesforce. According to Techpoint research, almost half of the state’s information technology workforce calls Indy home.

Life Sciences | 21,000 employees
According to Indy Chamber, the life sciences sector provides Indianapolis residents with enormous economic opportunities. On average, workers in the life sciences industry in Indy earned more than two times the regional average. Major employers include Eli Lilly & Co., Anthem, Roche Diagnostics, and Corteva.

Agribusiness | 16,000 employees
Indiana is a farming state, so it’s no surprise that agribusiness is a significant economic driver of the state’s economy. Statewide, this industry employs just over 75,000 individuals, not including primary production workers (farming). Indy is home to some major players such as Elanco, Beck’s Hybrids, and AgReliant Genetics.

Sports | 16,000 employees
We love our sports in Indiana. From the NCAA headquarters to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sports has been a catalyst for development + positive change throughout the Indianapolis area. The city has a rich history of hosting some of the biggest sporting events, so Indy knows a thing or two about competition.

The major players

Now that we’ve established the major industries, we bet you’re curious for specific names. Whether you’re job hunting (or just “casually prospecting”), here are three major employers.

💊 Eli Lilly
36,000 employees | Pharmaceutical | Search jobs
Ranked 112 on the Fortune 500 list, the pharmaceutical company was born in Indianapolis on May 10, 1876 — making it 145 years old. Eli Lilly employs 10,373 people in Indy alone, and has 36,000 employees worldwide. Today, Lilly is best known for clinical depression drugs like Prozac and Cymbalta, and its products are sold in approx. 125 countries.

⚙️ Cummins
59,900 employees | Manufacturing | Search jobs
Although this company is based in Columbus, it also has a headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. The multinational corporation designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products. It’s been on Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies list for 14 consecutive years + ranked No. 24 on Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies last year.

💻 Salesforce
73,542 employees | Tech | Search jobs
Although the company wasn’t born in Indianapolis, our city has become one of the tech company’s largest outposts with more than 2,300 employees alone, according to Forbes. Salesforce is the world’s No. 1 customer relationship management platform that helps businesses with marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams work together from anywhere.

This information is derived from the most recent data published by the Indy Chamber of Commerce.

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