Published: December 28, 2021 | Updated: December 21, 2021

See ya, '21: Hello, '22!

Mike Patrick

Mike Patrick

The economic chaos of 2020 — thank you, COVID-19 — settled down somewhat in 2021, as outright terror gave way to virus fatigue.

While that might not seem much of an improvement to you, let’s take a moment to look at local impact.

If your breath can fog a mirror, chances are pretty good that you can find a job. A labor shortage might be all that’s holding back many area businesses.

And if you’ve had the same job for a while or made yourself a valuable commodity in a competitive marketplace, chances are also good that 2022 will see you taking home more money. That labor shortage means employers have to dig a little deeper to encourage workforce loyalty.

North Idaho has become a magnet for visitors and new residents alike, many of them fleeing states where rules and regulations are perceived as more onerous. And lots of the new residents are retirees, folks with the kind of disposable income that brings smiles to retailers who can then afford to pay their employees more.

The downside? Most of those retirees are too busy spending money to make it. They’re infusing businesses with mountains of moolah but not directly contributing much to the labor force. With housing prices in an unreachable stratosphere for many workers, the imbalance between service demand and the ability to supply it looks unlikely to be solved anytime soon.

If life boils down to conquering challenges and attaining goals, we’ve all got plenty to look forward to in ‘22.

— Mike Patrick, BJNI editor