The Economic Strength of the South Bend – Elkhart Region is Supported in 2017 Wages & Benefits Report


Released by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (September 5, 2017) — In a survey of employers in the five-county region, the regional economic development organization found more than 85 percent of participants added workers in the last six months, with 42 percent already planning further employment growth in 2017. This is a decrease from 95 and 43 percent respectively in 2015. The average wage of all participants increased by 3.74% between 2015 and 2017, with the highest wage increases occurring in Human Resources, Construction and Technical Industries at 14%, 13% and 8% respectively.

The workforce outlook is contained in a voluntary survey of compensation practices and policies of 168 employers and 70,481 employees in the five-county region served by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. Survey participants include some of the area’s leading employers engaged in manufacturing, medical, logistics, financial, education and other activities, some with annual sales of hundreds of millions of dollars and others with only a few employees.

Regina Emberton, president and chief executive officer of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, said the diversity of participants and the wide geographic range make the survey and report a valuable tool supporting the partnership’s work attracting new investment to the region while supporting growth of existing employers.

“The survey helps us prove the case that the South Bend – Elkhart Region has competitive workforce advantages for employers,” Emberton said.

The survey collected actual wage data for over 130 positions, from president to janitor. The survey also collects data about benefits packages and policies including health care costs paid by employers and employees, retirement benefits, training, vacation and other employment perks.

Emberton explained that the report serves two main purposes. The collection of up to date data helps the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and participating economic development organizations recruit investment in the area by providing an accurate picture of workforce costs in the region. In addition, participating employers learn how their compensation practices compare with other employers in the region.

A third section of the survey focuses on workforce growth and development. New items in this year’s survey included turnover rates, participation in Internships and drug screening policies. “In addition to anticipated trends in hiring and wage increases, we learned that CDL Drivers, CNC machinists and Engineers are the most difficult positions to fill” Emberton said. “This helps us define opportunities for training, attracting and retaining workers,” she added.

The report is available at under the Workforce & Talent page. For more information, contact or 574-400-5432. View 2017 Wages & Benefits Report

About the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership

The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The organization serves as a single point of contact for regional communication and seeks to create economic opportunities for all partner members through collaborative promotion, marketing and capacity building efforts. The counties include Elkhart, Marshall and St. Joseph Counties in Indiana and Berrien & Cass Counties in Michigan. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Regina Emberton
South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership