July 31, 2019

Report gives "F" grade for logistics industry health to Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Rhode Island

Annual scorecard from Ball State University provides economic data for manufacturing and logistics site selection.

By Ben Ames

An economic report that calculates ratings for all 50 states measuring the health of their logistics industries has given an "F" grade to Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, according to a release from Ball State University.

The annual report, which was created by Muncie, Ind.-based Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), is intended to be a tool for site selection experts in the manufacturing and logistics industries.

Their "2019 Manufacturing Scorecard" measures nine categories: manufacturing industry health, logistics industry health, human capital, cost of worker benefits, diversification of the industries, productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, tax climate, and global reach.

The category of "logistics industry health" included the five states above with "F" grades. In addition, six states earned straight "A"s: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. For a chart of every state's grade in each category, see the report online.

Researchers at Ball State measure a state's "logistics industry health" by calculating its share of total logistics industry income as a share of total state income, and the employment per capita. They also include commodity flows data by both rail and road, and then measure infrastructure spending as the per capita expenditure on highway construction.

Measuring the levels of commodity flows and infrastructure spending are critical gauges because the movement of goods is of central importance to the production of goods, the researchers said. "Without a robust logistics industry, manufacturing and commodity production will not occur. Logistics comprises not merely the capacity to move goods, but to store inventory and manage the distribution and processing of manufactured goods," the report said.

When it comes to site selection, logistics firms depend upon many of the same factors as manufacturing firms, but they demand a more complex interplay between local conditions and the existing or planned transportation networks of roads, railroads, waterways, and airports, Ball State said.

The university's CBER Data Center says its mission is to conduct public policy research on a range of issues, providing economic data—such as demographics, education, health, and social capital—for the use of grant writers, economic developers, policy makers, and the general public.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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