On the heels of favorable report card from the US Chamber Commerce highlighting Maryland’s business friendly environment–comes a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a net loss of 7,500 jobs in Maryland during the month of May—the third highest rate of job loss in the US.
“Though May was not the month we had hoped for, declines between these months are not atypical. We saw it happen last year and in years before, and we’ve always recovered over-the-year. So far this year, the number of jobs is higher than a year ago, with private-sector employers adding 34,900 jobs to their payrolls,” said Interim Maryland Labor Secretary Scott R. Jensen in a press release on Friday after BLS released the May job figures. “Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued their Enterprising States 2012 report, and Maryland leads the nation in entrepreneurship and innovation – a positive sign that Maryland will recover. We continue to remain focused on moving forward and recovering the jobs lost during the national recession.”
Maryland also lost 6,000 jobs during March and April, which ended a six-month positive trend.
The report Friday from BLS showed a slide in the Mid-Atlantic states during May. Pennsylvania lost 9,900, Delaware lost 2,300 jobs and Virginia showed no change. North Carolina lost the most jobs in the US in May at 16,500.
The new trend has Maryland lawmakers concerned when 27 other states showed job gains in May. California, Ohio, and New Jersey together added 75,000 jobs during the month.
“Maryland’s job losses should come as no surprise to the O’Malley-Brown administration”, said Delegate Mike McDermott, R-Wicomico, on Monday. “This administration’s failed policies will only produce more pain for citizen and business owner alike in Maryland. While surrounding states decide what to do with their surplus, Maryland increased the tax burden on the middle class.”
McDermott said the regulatory environment was hurting Maryland businesses.
“We need to promote and safeguard a climate that is friendly to current businesses and inviting to others,” McDermott told the Spy. “Our corporate rates are the highest in the region and our regulatory environment is punitive and ever-changing. People who invest in business need a stable platform and a competitive edge, yet we provide neither. This administration has been trying to pick the winners and losers instead of just making Maryland a more business friendly state for everyone.”
Delegate Jay Jacobs, R-Kent, said he was skeptical of the report last week from the US Chamber of Commerce calling Maryland a business-friendly state.
“When I heard the US Chamber of Commerce statement reporting Maryland near the top of business friendly environment, I was very skeptical,” Jacobs told the Spy. “The information I’ve received indicates that Maryland is nowhere near the top of a business friendly environment. In my district, and in most of rural Maryland, we are losing jobs that don’t seem to be coming back. The fact that our neighboring states are also losing jobs at this time indicates we are not out of the woods in this recession, and we should be much more business friendly in our approach to this end–rather than putting a greater tax burden on job creators. I believe that Maryland as a whole will recover most of the jobs lost in this recession, but job recovery in rural Maryland will be a bigger challenge.”
Delegate Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil, responded that creating more government jobs will strain the tax base further.
“The sad fact is that as long as a liberal-socialist agenda is being pursued by the majority Democrat party Maryland will continue to lose businesses and the private sector jobs they provide,” Smigiel said. “Maryland Democrat leadership believes that creating government jobs is a viable solution, but this is a false premise since the tax base needs to pay for those jobs, and less free market business means less of a tax base and more pressure on the individual taxpayer. The additional tax burdens placed on the taxpayer sends them chasing jobs that have moved out of State.”
Smigiel believes Maryland is simply too expensive for businesses to be successful.
“Maryland will continue to lose jobs as long as it creates disincentives for businesses to locate or stay in Maryland,” Smigiel told the Spy. “Our taxes and fees are too high, our regulations create uncertainty and businesses can go to more inviting locations with very similar attributes. The administration touts an educated workforce as an inducement for businesses to come to Maryland, but the truth is that over 60% of our High School graduates have to take remedial courses when they go college. ”
Most jobs losses were in the private sector and around 1,500 were attributed to the federal and state workforce living in Maryland.