42,500 jobs generated in '94 by Md. economy

March 15, 1995|By John E. Woodruff | John E. Woodruff,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland's economy generated new jobs in 1994 nearly twice as fast as originally thought but still lagged far behind the nation's employment growth rate, newly revised U.S. government figures show.

"There are tens of thousands more new jobs in Maryland than we thought, and that is good news any time," said Charles McMillion, president of MBG Information Service, a Washington-based consultancy that tracks the Maryland economy.

"It is now clear that, while 1994 was still a difficult and slow year for Maryland, it was not as bad as we had thought," he said.

The state added 42,500 jobs between January 1994 and January 1995 -- a growth rate of about 2 percent for the year -- according to revised figures compiled by the state's Department of Economic and Employment Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That compares with a net of 24,000 new jobs -- growth of about 1.1 percent -- in the initial estimates made as the year ended.

National jobs growth was about 3 percent in 1994.

The revised figures also eased Maryland out of the ranks of the 10 slowest-growing states, where it has languished ever since the recession ended in early 1991.

The initial estimates put Maryland at No. 42 in job growth; the revised figures put the state at No. 38.

"The caveat is that most of the new jobs are in retail and other lower-paid consumer services businesses, so that their impact on the economy is not as great as manufacturing or construction jobs, which in fact appear to have begun to decline again in January," Mr. McMillion said.

In addition to being lower-paid, service jobs in the consumer sector may also prove vulnerable later this year as shopping slows down in response to the higher interest rates the Federal Reserve has engineered since February 1994.

"These jobs are driven by consumer spending, and we are already seeing a slowing in growth of consumer spending," Mr. McMillion said.

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