The more things change these days, well, the more they keep changing. And when it comes to our local economy, we see lots of changes.   

Comparing the fall payroll employment of 2019 with that of 2021, the Bloomington metro region (which includes Monroe and Owen counties) lost a net total of 174 payroll-based jobs. The funny thing about doing the math this way — calculating job loss from 2019 to 2021 — is that it skips right over the big job losses of 2020, which brought a lot of hurt to both people and the economy of the area. Between fall 2019 and fall 2020, we lost 2,863 jobs, or the equivalent to the population of about 49 small towns in Indiana, such as Brownstown or Delphi or Fairmount.

More:Duke Energy, CenterPoint bills are spiking in Bloomington. Where can you go for help?

Amidst the pandemic and the resulting layoffs and closings by employers, the metro area saw mostly across the board job losses in the spring and summer of 2020. But remarkably, by fall of 2021 (just a few months ago), we had climbed back from the job losses of 2020 to show a net loss of only 174 jobs compared with 2019.

So, many of our employers bounced back to recoup those losses, bringing people back to work and crying out for even more labor. At the same time, our job levels are back, we are seeing remarkable changes in our labor market and increasing competition in the Bloomington metro for workers. 

And while job levels have returned to pre-pandemic levels, average wages have gone far beyond. A more significant and longer lasting change has occurred in our labor market with, for some industries, big increases in wages. The average weekly wage in the Bloomington metro for all industries increased by an average of $130 between the third quarters of 2019 and 2021 to $990 a week. In fact, between 2019 and 2020, weekly wages increased on average by $69 and between 2020 and 2021, by $61.

© 2022 HeraldTimesOnline, Bloomington, IN