Baltimore County News
By Jen Horton, Policy and Planning Manager, Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
Nine key industries will drive three-quarters of Baltimore County’s job growth over the next decade, according to a new study commissioned by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development. The study also projected overall job growth through 2024, with Baltimore County employers favoring more highly skilled and educated workers.
Healthcare, corporate operations centers, construction and financial services are among the top industries currently driving Baltimore County employment. Together with manufacturing, federal agencies, port-logistics and distribution centers, information technology and higher education, these nine sectors drive 50 percent of Baltimore County’s employment. Growth in these key sectors will drive 75 percent of Baltimore County’s job growth by 2024.
Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development commissioned the Jacob France Institute and Valbridge Property Advisers to analyze current and projected job trends—including types of jobs, skills and applicants.
“Our local economy is already strong and growing, supported by a range of healthy industries. But there’s no time for rest—it’s time to take stock so we maintain a solid pipeline of workers whose skills are in sync with what business needs,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “This jobs report has been applauded by our state and federal workforce partners as a proactive and thorough approach to staying ahead of industry trends.”
“This research provides us with data to help us do a better job of matching Baltimore County job seekers to industries with workforce shortages,” added Will Anderson, director of the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.
Below are key findings identified in the Jobs of the Future report:
Baltimore County’s nine industry job drivers contribute three-quarters of net employment growth since 2001 and are expected to continue this trend throughout 2024. This finding suggests that Baltimore County boasts a diversified economy, with workforce demands that span across multiple sectors of the economy. The County has performed well in sectors such as Healthcare and Social Assistance, Finance and Insurance, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. The County shows continued weakness in Manufacturing, Federal Employment and Port-related industries.
The research does not include 2016 announcements of almost 2,000 new jobs coming to Tradepoint Atlantic—the East Coast’s largest privately-owned industrial site. A 2016 study by Sage Policy Group projects redevelopment at Sparrows Point will create 10,000 direct jobs, and 7,000 indirect jobs by 2025, primarily in the Port, Logistics, and Distribution Centers sector.
Total employment in Baltimore County has increased by more than four percent since 2001. The County is projected to experience steady employment growth, with employment projected to increase by 12,902 jobs or 3.5 percent, to 385,650 jobs in 2024.
Baltimore County Total Employment 2001 to 2015 and Projections through 2024
Baltimore County employers are demanding a more highly skilled and educated workforce, while the County’s nine industry clusters are requiring a higher degree of skills and education. Employment in high skilled occupations (requiring a Bachelor’s and above) increased by 13 percent in 2001 to 2015 and is expected to continue to grow by six percent through 2024. 32 percent of jobs in the nine targeted industry clusters are high skilled jobs that require a Bachelor’s degree above, versus 25 percent of all jobs in Baltimore County.
Baltimore County offers a diverse workforce across the high, middle and low skilled spectrum of jobs. Compared to the nation, Baltimore County has a high share, 43 percent compared to 37 percent nationally, of employed residents working in high skilled occupations, but tends to lag the State and region in terms of its concentration of workers in these occupations. However, Baltimore County tends to have higher concentrations of workers employed in Middle and Lower Skilled occupations than the State or region. For example, employment in Middle Skill occupations increased by 12 percent since 2001 and is projected to grow by 5 percent through 2024.
Although the County’s employment numbers are projected to grow steadily through 2024, the researchers identified talent retention of skilled and educated out-commuters and graduates as a key challenge that needs to be addressed in the County’s ongoing economic and workforce development strategy.
“Our Economic and Workforce Development staff in partnership with the business and academic leaders on Baltimore County’s Workforce Development Board already have begun using this data to help prioritize and address our workforce system gaps,” said Will Anderson.
Economic and Workforce Development have already prioritized some of the report’s key recommendations, including:
- Emphasizing industry clusters in the economy that lead to in-County job creation.
- Supporting the expansion of the County’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially in the service, healthcare, and construction industries which are more likely to provide employment for mid- and low-skills workers.
- Strengthening efforts to retain talent in the County through increased connections with local employers and educational institutions.
- Enhancing opportunities for upgrading the skills of local residents by strengthening partnerships with area community colleges that provide career education and training opportunities.
- Promoting place-based economic development strategies, including a focus on revitalizing Towson as an urban live, work, play and learn environment to attract millennials, Towson University students and businesses.
"This research confirms two core economic growth strategies that we have emphasized over the past several years,” said Kamenetz. “First, focus on ‘growing our own’—supporting our current employers. This will continue to be the bedrock of our strength. Second, economic and workforce development need to work hand-in-glove. They belong together because jobs, skills and talent are all deeply connected.”
Fully has opened a distribution center and showroom in Baltimore County, the company’s first location on the East Coast. Fully offers adjustable height standing desks, active seats and ergonomic accessories.
The 100,000 square foot distribution center, adjacent to its showroom on Franklin Square Drive, gives Fully increased access to customers in the Eastern half of the United States.
“With overnight access to two-thirds of the U.S. consumer market from its new Baltimore County distribution center, Fully is cutting both its carbon footprint and its supply chain costs,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “White Marsh is ideal for distribution, located at I-95 and convenient to commercial rail and the Port of Baltimore.”
As a certified B Corporation, Fully actively seeks to cut its carbon emissions, and has calculated that shipping to customers east of the Rocky Mountains out of Baltimore significantly reduces carbon emissions from shipping.
“The idea behind every product we sell is simple: the human body was meant to move,” said David Kahl, Fully’s founder. “Our new East Coast distribution center in Baltimore County will help us move our products more efficiently and improve the quality of life for our customers.”
The company sells to customers across the country at fully.com and from showrooms in San Francisco, Portland, Oregon and now the Baltimore area.
Baltimore County’s unemployment rate continues to decline, posting a December rate of 4.1%. The rate is down 0.2% from the previous month, a positive employment trend in Maryland’s third largest jurisdiction. The U.S. unemployment rate stands at 4.5%.
“This is another strong jobs report for Baltimore County workers. When companies hire, there’s a positive ripple effect across our entire economy,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.