“That’s only temporary,” Jim Feelwright said, backing away from me. “The trend is up.”
“True,” I confirmed, “but for too many households the trend does not put food on the table. In only five lucky metro areas have average weekly earnings topped their 2007 levels. These five include Columbus and Lafayette, plus Gary, South Bend-Mishawaka and Louisville. Those last three, however, are still on the negative side in jobs.”
“That’s what I said to begin with,” Jim retraced his steps toward me. “You’re always looking at the negative.”
“Negative?” I was almost shouting. “I’ll give you negative. Elkhart-Goshen is off by 10,600 jobs (8.8 percent) while Michigan City-La Porte is down by 4,400 jobs (11.2 percent).
“I told you about five Hoosier areas where earnings are up by at least the rise in prices. That leaves six areas where earnings gains were wiped out by inflation. And another five (Muncie, Bloomington, Michigan City-LaPorte, Anderson and Kokomo) where there were no gains in earnings at all, and inflation was an added blow to those communities.”
“Are you done?” Jim asked. I nodded and he said, “Have a nice day.”
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.