Most Counties Still Waiting for Economic Recovery

An article in the Baltimore Sun  (limited free views allowed) highlights how unevenly the recession and its recovery have affected Maryland counties.

At one end, there’s Anne Arundel County. Its employment base was 7 percent larger this spring than it was five years earlier, a gain of 17,000 new jobs. A major driver of that growth, Fort Meade, is now the state’s single largest employer — so big it hires thousands of people each year “just because of attrition,” said installation spokeswoman Mary Doyle.

At the other end, just a few dozen miles away, is Talbot County. Buffeted by the housing bust like much of the Eastern Shore, its job base shrank faster than Anne Arundel’s grew — a steep 8 percent drop.

The Baltimore Sun analysis, which relied on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, found that most counties have not rebounded in terms of jobs and that the Eastern Shore counties were those most negatively affected.

“The Shore-area real estate boom was unbelievably good to us, but also it created that bubble, and boy, did it burst,” said Memo Diriker, director of Salisbury University’s Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network. “That had all kinds of ripple effects.”

The five Maryland counties that lost the biggest share of their job base in the past five years are all on the Shore: Talbot, Kent, Somerset, Dorchester and Wicomico. Diriker thinks that area is at least three years away from recovering all of its recessionary job losses.