ST. JOSEPH COUNTY -- A new report on future employment doesn't paint a good picture for cities in our area. The report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors predicts five Indiana metro areas won't return to pre-recession job levels until sometime after 2021.
Three metros in our area are on that list. South Bend-Mishawaka, Michigan City-LaPorte, and Elkhart-Goshen areas are all predicted to be climbing that hill beyond 2021. And it's no surprise to job seekers.
Otis Rowe, 18, is on the hunt for a job. He has learned fast that the hunt isn’t easy.
“Big Lots, Max 10, Wendy’s Arby’s…I just went and got this big bunch yesterday,” said Rowe. “I’ve been looking every day and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me, I guess the economy isn’t doing as good as it should be.”
Outside the Work One center in South Bend, many others are having just as hard a time.
“I’ve been out of work since July of last year, 2010, basically I come to work once every day or every other day,” said Chris Swanson of South Bend.
And a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows a brighter future may be further away than most would like. It could take 10 years or more for five Indiana metro areas to get to pre-recession job numbers...Including South Bend-Mishawaka, Elkhart-Goshen and Michigan City-LaPorte.
Jeff Rea is the president of the St. Joe County Chamber of Commerce. He said the county chamber is doing what it can to change what the report has predicted -- by making it easier and cheaper to do business.
"I think we have a workforce here that is qualified and ready, so the ease of doing business are two of those factors, so we have to continue to work to make sure we don't penalize people for making investment here and that we reward them for making that investment,” said Rea.
This is hoped to be achieved by promoting the area's resources: a major highway, an esteemed University and a suitable power grid. For those looking for work, they just hope things get better.
"It's just not working out how it should be, but I'm trying, hopefully, get through it,” said Rowe Jr.
Indianapolis is expected to bounce back to pre-recession numbers by 2013, Bloomington, 2015. The cities in our area have also been away from the peak longer than other cities in the state. For instance, South Bend Jobs peaked in 2005 -- Indianapolis, 2007.
Rea says that climb back up is taking longer because percentage wise, this area took a bigger hit. And, Indianapolis simply has more money and resources as the state capital.