Many County Firms Flourishing Despite The Recession

Nearly Two-thirds Of Industries Surveyed Report Expansions

June 30, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

County industries have fared well during this recession, a survey bythe Office of Economic Development shows.

"In the midst of a soft, sagging economy, 67 percent of Carroll County's industries added employees in the past three years," the annual report for the Economic Development Commission says.

The EDC, a 25-member advisory group to the County Commissioners, reviewed the report at its annual meeting Wednesday.

Eileen S. Fisher, marketing manager for the economic development office, surveys about 150 county industries every year.

The survey found the countyis following the national trend toward fewer manufacturing industries and more service companies. Service businesses, which include health, legal, engineering, accounting and

educational companies, employed twice as many people in 1989 as in 1980, the report says.

Manufacturing jobs declined by 19 percent in the 1980s, but there were 25more manufacturers in the county in 1989 than in 1980, the report says. Manufacturers have increased computerization, automation and efficiency, which accounts for the decline in jobs.

The past year brought four major industrial expansions, the EDC reported:

* Londontown Corp., the county's second-largest private employer, moved its knitwear division into 150,000-square-feet of warehouse space at Merritt's Eldersburg Business Center.

* Knorr Brake Corp., a subsidiary of a German company, announced plans to purchase the Telemecanique Inc. building on Route 140. The company, which makes brake systems, plans to move in October and hire about 150 people.

* Evapco Inc. moved its corporate headquarters from Baltimore to its manufacturing facility in Taneytown. The company, which makes evaporative cooling equipment, increased its plant size to 172,000 square feet.

* Jos. A. Bank Clothiers announced it would move its corporate headquarters fromBaltimore County to its Hampstead facility on Route 30. The move will bring 140 more jobs to the county.

To attract more businesses, the county must have more attractive space available for manufacturers, said James C. Threatte, economic development director.

Businesses often come to the county looking for space they can occupy as soon as possible, but the county doesn't have much to offer, he said. Available space at the Kessler Shoe Manufacturing Co. Inc. and Westminster Knit Corp., both of which ceased operations in Westminster, aren't modern enough, he said.

Threatte said his office is talking with county bankers about working with the government to find low-cost financing to construct speculative buildings.

The business survey alsofound that county employers are satisfied with the quality of the work force and available training programs. Owners said they liked the "good work ethic" and "loyal, independent and stable" workers, the report says.

Diane Arbuthnot, bureau chief of the Job Training Partnership Administration, also reported at the meeting about successes her office has had this year.

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