Numbers released this month by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show the Columbus metropolitan area saw more job growth from April of 2011 to April of 2012 than any place in the nation. But the same survey shows Bloomington’s three-county region lost jobs – for the second consecutive year.
Less than ten percent of the nation’s 421 metropolitan statistical areas – or MSAs — showed net job losses in each of the last two years. But the city of Bloomington’s– which encompasses Monroe, Greene and Owen Counties — finds itself among that unenviable group of 40 MSAs.
Bloomington’s MSA ranks 339th in job growth nationwide for the last year. City of Bloomington Economic and Sustainable Development Director Danise Alano-Martin points to the fact unemployment numbers are what’s called a lagging indicator, meaning the number is, by definition, backward looking and that current trends aren’t reflected.
“It could be a case where the impacts that we see because of the unique characteristics of our MSA are delayed, potentially,” Alano-Martin says. “I hope that also means that the impacts will be felt a little less deeply as we are going through that and our recovery will be quicker too.”
Alano-Martin also notes the MSA also includes mostly rural Greene and Owen Counties. Since the city of Bloomington’s jobs numbers are relatively flat, she says, it may be outlying areas which are dragging the MSA down. Bloomington Chamber of Commerce President Christy Gillenwater agrees.
“I would venture to say that yes, we are still doing what we can here as a community,” she says. “And it was our hope that as Interstate 69 reaches our community that will help, as businesses start to feel stronger about the national and international economy.”
Gillenwater says the interstate should energize the area to Bloomington’s southwest, offering the potential to pick up all the counties in the Bloomington MSA.