This article came as a surprise to me (I guess it shouldn’t have), but the pundits and policy wonks have told us over and over that the recession skipped Maryland because of the large number of federal workers in the state. Since the recession is not over and the federal government will necessarily be reining in spending (hiring fewer workers and halting some contracting), it appears that Maryland is going to get slammed as the recession deepens.
Before I get to the Baltimore Sun story, I spied the Federal Times on my kitchen table. A banner headline from the June 6th edition reads—Mass job cuts likely, GOP plans would slash 200k-300k jobs.
The federal workforce is going to be cut — all that’s left to decide is how fast and how deep.
Unions, Democratic lawmakers and other traditional allies of federal employees, in the past, have steadfastly opposed any attempts to trim the federal ranks. But at a May 26 hearing called “Rightsizing the federal workforce,” a union leader conceded that cuts may be appropriate as the cash-strapped government reconsiders its role.
“The realities of our federal budget situation are such that some downsizing of federal agencies is both necessary and proper,” said Bill Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees and chairman of the Federal Workers Alliance, a coalition of 21 smaller federal unions. “We understand that fully.”
At some agencies, the downsizing has already begun.
Then this, from the Baltimore Sun:
Hampered by a slowdown in federal spending, Maryland came in dead last in the nation for its pace of job creation over the past year, shedding almost 1 percent of its employment base — nearly 20,000 positions — the U.S. Department of Labor reported.
The figures released Friday show declines in Maryland in eight of the past 12 months. Twenty-two states added jobs during the past year.
Job creation problem for Maryland—a state that has relied too heavily on the industry called GOVERNMENT.
…. that doesn’t negate the job-creation problem facing Maryland. The state weathered the recession better than the nation as a whole, but it is now dealing with slowdowns and cutbacks to federal agencies and contractors — a key part of the regional economy — on top of a lackluster national recovery.
“The Maryland economy is weak,” said Richard Clinch, director of economic research at the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute. “We need to see a broad-based national recovery, and until that happens, Maryland will lag. Government contracting is certainly not the same type of growth industry it’s been over the last two decades.”
Desperate search for jobs:
All told, slightly more than 200,000 Marylanders were out of work and actively looking in May. That’s down from the peak in January 2010, when 25,000 more were unemployed, but remains abnormally high for the state, which had fewer than 110,000 unemployed adults when the recession began at the end of 2007.
So many job-seekers competing for positions has contributed to a long, frustrating search for many people.
Here is a very informative map from the US Labor Department which shows clearly that counties adjacent to Washington, DC were doing o.k. as of April, but counties in the hinterlands are in bad shape (including my county—Washington).
Every member of the GOP in Maryland should be pouncing on this news that Maryland is no longer immune to Obama policy generated unemployment rates. It is evident that Maryland needs to figure out how to create jobs WITHOUT federal help and candidates for public office should be hammering this point home.