More depressing Maryland employment news

The bad month for Governor Martin O’Malley continues, with his new nemesis Change Maryland at the forefront once again. They did the research and determined that Maryland’s anemic employment gains were, in fact, no gains at all over the first six months of 2012 – as it turned out the Free State lost more jobs than any other state. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the watchdog group indicates around 10,300 jobs were lost by Maryland during this time frame; indeed, that’s more than any other state.

And the news gets worse if you expand the period of study backward – only Pennsylvania has lost more jobs in this region than Maryland, and it’s a larger state.

So far Governor Martin O’Malley has been mum on this data – as opposed to previous releases by the group, where an O’Malley mouthpiece tried his best at obfuscation – but Change Maryland head Larry Hogan seems to be burnishing his gubernatorial credentials by pointing these dismal employment numbers out, stating in the accompanying release:

Governor O’Malley says repeatedly that Maryland has fared better than other states during the recession. He should be talking about our state’s performance relative to others in this region, not compared to Michigan or Nevada.  Once again he is cherry picking data in an attempt to fool people.

As someone who has lost his job during the time period in question, I think Hogan may be on to something when he talks about the frequent tax increases and lack of spending discipline being an issue in the state.

Apparently Nancy Jacobs does too, as the State Senator and Second District Congressional challenger talked about job losses in her region during her opponent’s recent Congressional tenure:

News of layoffs has been especially bad in Congressional District 2 where I am the Republican nominee for Congress. On Friday two more Baltimore County companies announced layoffs.  At Siemens in Dundalk, 38 jobs are being cut.  Bank of America in Hunt Valley reports it will cut 55 employees in Hunt Valley. Eastern Baltimore County was especially hard it by the loss of 2000 jobs at RG Steel in Sparrows Point Plant earlier this month.  We must ask what Dutch Ruppersberger what is he doing in Washington to address this issue so critical to his constituents!

Well, the truth of the matter is that doing something in Washington is the wrong approach – the better question to me is what Nancy Jacobs will undo in Washington. One who uses the slogan “Vote Jobs – Vote Jacobs” may be well-served to show what she can do. Luckily she does have a record:

Maryland Business for Responsive Government gives me a 100 percent ranking when it comes to my votes that improve business and create jobs.

But I wanted to get back to that raw data. Thanks to Jim Pettit, who forwarded me the data, I looked at all the states which lost jobs – here’s the list, in alphabetical order:

  • Kansas lost 7,800 jobs.
  • Maine lost 4,300 jobs.
  • Maryland lost 10,300 jobs.
  • Mississippi lost 4,100 jobs.
  • Missouri lost 7,700 jobs.
  • Nevada lost 400 jobs.
  • New Hampshire lost 3,700 jobs.
  • New Mexico lost 4,400 jobs.
  • Rhode Island lost 800 jobs.
  • Tennessee lost 4,200 jobs.
  • West Virginia lost 6,800 jobs.
  • Wisconsin lost 2,100 jobs.

So it’s true that in raw numbers Maryland performed the worst. But there is a proviso which Martin O’Malley may be able to hang his hat on just a little bit. These are job losses expressed as a percentage of the workforce for these states:

  • Kansas, 0.58%
  • Maine, 0.72%
  • Maryland, 0.40%
  • Mississippi, 0.38%
  • Missouri, 0.29%
  • Nevada, 0.04%
  • New Hampshire, 0.59%
  • New Mexico, 0.55%
  • Rhode Island, 0.17%
  • Tennessee, 0.16%
  • West Virginia, 0.89%
  • Wisconsin, 0.08%

Measured this way there are five states which did worse than Maryland: Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia. So now we’re #46 instead of #51…woohoo!

But the other chart Change Maryland bases its assertions on compares Maryland to a peer group of surrounding states and Washington D.C. and tabulates the total employment figures from January, 2007 through last month. This time I will do both the total jobs gained or lost and percentage, along with peak and trough months:

  • Maryland, a net 39,900 jobs lost (-1.53%) – peak February 2008, trough February 2010.
  • Virginia, a net 32,100 jobs lost (-0.85%) – peak February 2008, trough February 2010.
  • Delaware, a net 20,000 jobs lost (-4.55%) – peak February 2008, trough February 2010.
  • Pennsylvania, a net 58,800 jobs lost (-1.02%) – peak April 2008, trough February 2010.
  • West Virginia, a net 600 jobs gained (+0.08%) – peak September 2008, trough February 2010.
  • District of Columbia, a net 46,200 jobs gained (+6.69%) – peak April 2012, trough June 2007.

Out of these states, only Delaware has fared worse in terms of a percentage of jobs lost. It’s also very telling that early 2008 was peak employment for most areas – except Washington, D.C. And while the others hit bottom in February 2010, the District – while in a bit of a lull – was still well above its pre-Obama low point.

So maybe the problem is in Washington, because these jobs are the fool’s gold of the economy – pencil pushers who add no real value.

And while the Change Maryland group is securing sensational headlines a little bit beyond the true scope of the revelations, the news is still quite bad for Martin O’Malley. As he tours the country on his perceived 2016 Presidential run, MOM’s failing to notice the vast majority of states are creating jobs despite his party’s best efforts. How long this can go on may depend on who is elected this fall.

8 thoughts on “More depressing Maryland employment news”

  1. I love that Change Maryland sent out a press release touting this news, but didn’t actually provide any information, you had to e-mail them to actually get the backup. And it wasn’t really their report because it was just a BLS compilation that they pointed out.

    But the problem I have is with the followup and the conclucions. As much as it pains me to say it, Delaware, which according to your information has had 3 times the job losses as a percentage of population (which as you concede is the fair way to look at it), ranks 12th for business climate according to the Tax Foundation, while Maryland ranks 42nd.

    Delaware is home to so many corporate headquarters (on paper they actually have all their employees in other states but hide their income in Delaware) because of their low taxation, but those companies aren’t actually producing jobs there. While Larry Hogan’s first report was a home run, this latest one is actually a foul ball that he is trying to convince the umpire was in bounds even though it went behind the dugout.

    Plus, why are we going after O’Malley when he is term limited. If we want to win the governorship and actually “Change Maryland”, shouldn’t we be going after Doug Gansler or Anthony Brown or Peter Franchot?

  2. I am a state of maryland employee. I cant afford to live on my income and I am single. My pay check has steadily gone down for the past 4 or 5yrs…and an currently so far in debt i’ll never get out of bad credit now. All thanks to my emplioyer. I work and this is my thanks in return.

  3. Actually, Change Maryland said in the original release that they would provide the numbers, but having written press releases a time or two I understood that they wanted to keep things brief and numbers would bog it down. And I don’t mind digging into numbers because I enjoy doing that sort of math.

    As for Delaware, one issue with the state is that they are such a small sample size when compared to Maryland that losing one major employer is much more devastating to the First State than it would be for us. As examples, over 2,000 Delaware jobs were lost in this period just from the shutdown of Chrysler and GM manufacturing plants alone – once you add spinoff labor, that’s a hefty chunk of the 20,000 jobs total lost in Delaware. It would be a drop in the bucket to Maryland, which has a far larger employment base – you would almost have to move our nation’s capital to Kansas to have the same sort of analogous event. (Or, on a smaller local scale, move Perdue to North Carolina.)

    Regarding the O’Malley question, I think there are two reasons. One is that any Democrat who runs in 2014 will have to take some responsibility for O’Malley’s record. Look at how John McCain was (fairly or unfairly) treated by the opposition as the potential third term of George W. Bush.

    The second, and potentially more important answer is that Larry Hogan is trying to establish himself as gubernatorial material. Remember, Hogan doesn’t have any elective experience because he decided not to run for Governor in 2010 and lost his Congressional bid to Steny Hoyer some years prior to that. On the other hand, David Craig is a sitting County Executive and Blaine Young a sitting County Commissioner.

    Some people thought Larry would be good governor, though. I forgot about this mention of my site.

    I wouldn’t call this a home run either, but I would consider it a seeing-eye single rather than a foul ball.

  4. Since you dug into the numbers, is O’Malley’s claim true that they excluded January employment numbers from the equation?

  5. I don’t think so. It had January through June, since there were six columns. The numbers were calculated simply enough (June # – January #) – states which were net job losers (like MD) had a negative number.

  6. Actually, I have MD numbers all the way back through 2007. These are the numbers (in thousands) of people employed in Maryland over the last year, so you can draw your own conclusions:

    • July 2011: 2547.9
    • August 2011: 2546.3
    • September 2011: 2555.8
    • October 2011: 2561.7
    • November 2011: 2566.6
    • December 2011: 2568.0
    • January 2012: 2577.1
    • February 2012: 2586.7 (peak)
    • March 2012: 2586.1
    • April 2012: 2580.7
    • May 2012: 2577.8
    • June 2012: 2566.8

    Obviously the distressful June numbers played a big role, but the state has shed nearly 20,000 jobs since February. That has to say something about the policies put in place by the Democrats in the General Assembly with O’Malley’s support.

Comments are closed.