Baltimore shows loss of 22,700 jobs in yearJob prospects...


December 04, 1992|By Kim Clark

Baltimore shows loss of 22,700 jobs in year

Job prospects in Baltimore City continue to look grim.

On Monday, Manpower Inc. released a quarterly survey of corporate hiring plans that showed Baltimore lagging the nation in job creation.

Later in the week, an analysis of federal employment statistics showed Baltimore lost more than 2 percent of its jobs in the year that ended Sept. 30.

The analysis by M/PF Research, a Texas economic research firm, showed that Baltimore lost 22,700 jobs in a year-to-year comparison -- one of the worst performances in the nation.

Of the 80 biggest U.S. cities analyzed by M/PF, Baltimore was ranked 14th from the bottom.

And in the five-year comparison, Baltimore, which has lost a net total of 21,100 jobs since Sept. 30, 1987, is in the bottom 10.

On the bright side, the city's 1992 loss was not even half as bad as the cuts in 1990-1991, when the city lost 51,500 jobs.

More job cutbacks could be coming.

Milwaukee-based Manpower reported that, on average, 17 percent of all employers nationwide planned to hire in the first three months of the new year, while only 13 percent planned to reduce work forces.

Baltimore's employers were downright pessimistic -- only 3 percent of the major employers planned to add staff, while 22 percent planned to downsize.

Meanwhile, some rural areas and suburbs in Maryland -- including Salisbury and St. Mary's County -- were very bullish.

Mahlon R. Straszheim, a University of Maryland economist who has been hired by Gov. William Donald Schaefer to advise him on Maryland's economy, said the signs point to a stabilization of the state's economy next year, but no quick recovery for Baltimore.

He says there's little the state or city government can do to revive the city in the short run. But for the long term, more investment and public-private partnerships are needed, he says.

Lord Baltimore official sets up tutor program

When Tara Chambers tried to get some help for fellow workers who wanted to improve their reading skills, she was discouraged to find that area schools had long waiting lists.

So Ms. Chambers, director of human resources at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel, decided to do it herself.

Now, she and 11 other managers, trained to teach reading and writing, each give about three hours of free classes at the downtown Baltimore hotel a week.

The managers are allowed to work the tutoring into their %J schedules. But the people being tutored can't take time off their jobs for the classes, Ms. Chambers says.

Thirteen workers are already taking advantage of the one-on-one classes, and more have signed up. Ms. Chambers has started a second round of training for additional managers, so more workers can be helped.

"We started out offering basic reading and writing skills but now a lot of people are looking for help with their math skills or getting their" high school equivalency certificates, she said.

"This has been a really positive experience," she said. "One person has already received a promotion because of his new training.

"It is kind of scary," she admitted. "We are waiting for the big hitch."

Ms. Chambers tried to avoid hitches by hiring the South Baltimore Learning Center to test the reading skills of each worker who asked for help -- thus separating managers from information that workers might want confidential.

And she steers workers to tutors who aren't their direct supervisors "so that the training doesn't interfere with their performance and evaluation," she said.

Besides helping the workers and giving the managers a good feeling, the program also has brought benefits to the hotel, Ms. Chambers says.

The hotel, like many service businesses "has turnover challenges," she said.

So far, though, no one receiving training has quit or been fired.

Productivity called higher in morning

Call me in the morning.

A new survey of workers finds that nearly three out of four workers believe they are most productive in the morning.

Women and older workers like the morning best. Four-fifths of those groups interviewed by the Gallup Organization reported getting more work done before noon.

But the younger and the less affluent the worker, the more likely he or she was to perform better in the afternoon, reports Accountants on Call, a New Jersey-based temporary agency that sponsored the survey.

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