Maryland’s Economy is Growing, Just at a Slower Pace

Maryland’s economy is growing, just at a slower pace according to economist Anirban Basu, who is also head of the Baltimore-based economic and policy consulting firm Sage Policy Group Inc. Mr. Basu, who speaks occasionally at MACo’s summer and winter conference, was addressing a group of realtors in Frederick County.

As reported by the Frederick News Post,

Although stocks are doing well, Basu said growth in the region’s job sector, individual incomes and house sales continues to lag well behind pre-recession levels.

“Only two categories of households earn more now than they did in 2007 — once you adjust for inflation — those being the 90th and 95th percentiles,” he said. “Everyone else makes less.”

Those within the 40th, 50th and 60th percentiles — essentially, America’s middle class — are the ones who have lost the most income, giving many the illusion that America is still in a recession.

Mr. Basu also shared statistics on Maryland’s unemployment and the effects of millennials on the housing markets.

Maryland had the 19th lowest unemployment rate across the nation at 5.1 percent in August. In Frederick County, the rate was even lower at 4.3 percent, one of the lowest in the state.

“Unemployment is not the big problem” in Frederick County, Basu said. “It might be underemployment.”

Basu also spoke about the influence of millennials and millennial culture on today’s economy, especially the housing market. The sales of single-family houses today are not even close to pre-recession levels, Basu said, a factor that is indicative of millennials’ preference to rent rather than buy.

Basu said, however, that he believes single-family home sales will pick up in the next decade as the millennials reach their 30s, marry, settle down and have children. He also noted there may be a rise in demand for suburban apartments as baby boomers sell their houses, but look to stay in the area.