Baltimore County Now
Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive
This is a story of economic growth and opportunity. But to appreciate change, it’s sometimes helpful to look back.
If you were job hunting four years ago, it was a pretty tough time. Optimism and “help wanted” posts were in short supply. The national and local economies were still clawing their way out of the great recession. Baltimore County in 2010 posted an unemployment rate of 8%.
Fast forward to 2014.
Baltimore County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4% for November and December 2014. That’s better than Maryland at 5.5% and the U.S. at 5.6%. We haven’t seen a monthly unemployment rate this low since November of 2008, before the recession hit hard.
Baltimore County’s employment picture continues to be positive as more people are finding jobs in a steadily improving economy. One of our county’s greatest strengths is the diversity of our business community. Major employers include corporate giants such as McCormick, T. Rowe Price and Stanley Black & Decker. Five major hospitals and five colleges and universities offer solid employment opportunities. Entrepreneurial tech companies and a strong tourism and hospitality industry add to the growth.
We still have work to do. There are still too many people looking for work or who are underemployed. The professional career counselors at our County workforce development centers continue to help job seekers match their skills to the needs of employers.
But all in all, today’s Baltimore County job market stands much stronger than it did four years ago. And that’s reason for optimism.
Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive
It’s hard to find a longtime Baltimore County resident who doesn’t know someone who worked at Sparrows Point -- a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker. Over more than 125 years, tens of thousands of men and women worked at the Sparrows Point steel mill, and at many other businesses connected to steelmaking.
The Point provided good paying jobs that supported families for generations.
Working here was more than a job. Whether you were in the hot mill, the tin mill or the cold mill; whether you worked in the office or drove a truck, working at the Point meant knowing that your hard work was making a difference.
Baltimore County steel helped keep America strong -- it was vital to the effort during two World Wars. Baltimore County steel stands in our nation’s infrastructure, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Part of my job as Baltimore County Executive is to step back and look at the big picture, to see how we can make the most of what makes our County great. At Sparrows Point, I see everything we need to bring back jobs for this generation -- and for generations to come.
The basis for our optimism is simple. Sparrows Point has a unique combination of assets that just can’t be found anywhere else along the East Coast: more than five square miles of industrially zoned land, deepwater access, and infrastructure and transportation, including rail service right to the front door.
Most exciting are the opportunities for expansion of the Port and port-related uses. We have every reason to believe that the Port could easily bring 10,000 new, family-supporting jobs back to the Point. Advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and clean energy could add even more jobs.
There’s one more vital asset: we have people who work hard and work smart. These are workers who know what it means to put in a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.
Let’s face it: being a steelworker wasn’t the easiest job. The work was always hard and often dangerous. It took a combination of brains and brawn. But talk to any steelworker from any generation, and you’ll learn there’s something about working here that created a special bond that will last for generations, through good times and bad.
Shortly after the mighty L-furnace was built, steelworkers welded the “Star of Bethlehem” to its tower and lit it as a symbol of strength, pride and hope. I am pleased that the new owners of the property, Sparrows Point Terminal, are preserving the Star to help all of us, and future generations, stay connected to these values.
Let’s join with former steelworkers and their families as we look toward a bright future for the men and women of steel. We can all learn from their legacy.
Jordan Fish, Baltimore County Tourism & Promotion
Even though the holiday season is behind us many local restaurants are offering their own gift to you. The Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion and the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce are once again joining forces to promote over two weeks of delicious and affordable dining throughout the County.
From January 9th - 24th over 50 participating restaurants across the County will feature special menus at a discounted, fixed price, offering one to three course lunch and dinner specials ranging from $15.15 to $35.15.
Please visit http://www.baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com/ to view a list of participating restaurants, peruse menus, and make reservations. Try that fancy place you’ve heard such great things about, or frequent your favorite local hotspot. Either way it’s a delicious time to dine in Baltimore County! And, you can find out about great Restaurant Week happenings on our Facebook page, at http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyRestaurantWeek
Baltimore County Winter Restaurant Week 2015 is sponsored by Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion and the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Downtown Diane - What's Hot Around Baltimore?