Baltimore Cuts Fewer Jobs in 2009

Baltimore Cuts Fewer Jobs in 2009

Just about every U.S. city has taken an economic hit within the past two years; there’s no denying that. But some cities have been luckier than others, particularly when it comes to local job markets.

Baltimore was one such city in 2009. Though nearly 15,000 jobs were lost in 2008, 2009 saw the fall of only 790 positions. While still quite a hefty loss, it was far less than expected by local economic experts. So what accounted for the difference?

One could argue that the city’s largest areas facing trouble had already cut their losses the year before, which makes perfect sense. But the health and education sectors did grow this year in the area.

Other sources say that federal government jobs in the area can account for the steady employment as well. Another positive note for the city came when the median income was calculated; at over $35,000, it made Baltimore rank number 10 out of the nation’s top 20 grossing metro areas. Hopefully this increase provided some cushion for the residents still occupying the city.

The largest losses, in fact, were in the real estate sector, as well as the finance, retail, and food businesses. Construction losses were also large in 2009, at only $536 million worth of projects compared with the previous year’s $1.4 billion. This problem, according to experts, was attributed to lack of financing. City development isn’t expected to recover any time soon, either.

Of the construction that did occur, much was surrounding the Hotel Monaco Baltimore.

In addition, business office vacancy rates rose by 6% in 2009. Fewer residents also lived in the city last year, which could also be attributed to some of the percentage gaps. In fact, the population of the city accounted for a full notch slip down within metro area population rankings across the nation. Seven percent of the city’s rental units went unoccupied as well.

Other than these two rankings, the city’s numbers have not changed much. The total unemployment level in the city was at 11.7% in January, which, despite fewer losses, was still greater than a year before.  Tourism dollars have also dropped in the city, resulting in a several billion dollar loss.

According to Daraius Irani, the director of Applied Economics at the Regional Economic Studies Institute, 2009 signaled the area’s journey to recovery. Irani also notes that activity continues to increase in area businesses, a positive sign for residents.