Employment in the business sector in Bloomington-Normal is stable, according to economist Mike Doherty.
Doherty reviews various numbers periodically for the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. Doherty said the government sector, on the other hand, is reduced.
“Back in 2010-2012 we got up to 17,000 jobs in the government sector. But that has come down considerably. We’re now below 14,000 jobs in the government sector for the second year in a row. And as a percentage of our total jobs, it’s about 12 percent,” said Doherty.
Doherty said there are troubling signs in sales tax receipts for municipal governments. In the most recent quarter reported, he said Bloomington was down 5 percent and Normal was flat.
“But that’s not necessarily good news if you think there has been a little bit of inflation in there, you’re talking about 1.5 (or) 2 percent. Some of those goods are sales taxed (suggesting fewer sales at slightly higher prices). So in Normal’s case the glass is half full. In Bloomington’s case, it’s a bit more troubling,” said Doherty.
He also said an EDC study on sectors of employment suggests State Farm Insurance is keeping its commitment to stable employment in the area with roughly the same number of business sector jobs in the Twin Cities as there were in 2015.
Overall employment peaked in 2012 at more than 97,000 jobs. Doherty said current levels are stable or even slightly above the previous quarter, but about 5 percent under that peak at just under 92,000 jobs.
Doherty said other indicators such as real estate and unemployment are not bad for the Twin Cities.
Doherty spoke on GLT’s Sound Ideas and at an EDC quarterly presentation Bloomington-Normal by the Numbers.
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