The economic recovery from COVID has been slow and uneven. As of last month, there were 350,900 jobs in our metro area. We’re still about 4% below our pre-COVID peak, and about 6% below our all-time peak of 2000.
Inside the numbers
There are different prisms to use on the Triad economy. A different federal database reports the number of employed people in the Greensboro-High Point metro area, which is different from the number of jobs. As of late 2021, we have nearly 2% more employed people in the Greensboro-High Point metro area than in 2000. That’s still disturbing given the 21% growth in population since then. Perhaps slightly more of us are employed but are commuting to Burlington and Winston-Salem.
Explanations aside, our jobs numbers are very different from those in other key metro areas. We’re 6% below where we were in 2000, but there are 33% and 50% more jobs in the Charlotte and Raleigh metro areas than in 2000. The Winston-Salem metro area is rather like us, with a slim 2% increase since 2000.
Economics is often called the dismal science, but my goal is not to depress you. I do, however, want to underscore our recent economic experience. The Triad has undergone a long-term economic transformation from low-margin manufacturing to whatever comes next. We’ve been struggling through this transformation for at least two decades, and it hasn’t been pretty. Perhaps the recent good news will be a turning point that allows us to reverse this ugly trend.
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