Hiring in Md. likely to grow in 4th quarter

Survey says state rate for taking on workers will top national figure

`Emerging from downturn'

Strongest areas to include construction, education, finance, transportation

August 26, 2002|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Maryland stands to fare better than the nation as a whole in the fourth quarter when it comes to hiring, a new report shows.

According to a survey of public and private employers by Manpower Inc., a Wisconsin-based employment agency, 31 percent of respondents in the state said they plan to hire additional permanent employees between October and December.

Nationally, the number was 24 percent.

Also, the percentage of employers who said they would decrease their staffs was 5 percent in Maryland compared with 9 percent nationally.

"We know the nation has been in a recession - one that is somewhat deeper than we had earlier estimated - and we know Maryland's economy went into a downturn a lot later than the nation as a whole," said Pradeep Ganguly, chief economist in Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development. "But things have a way of catching up, and Maryland is now in a slowdown. These numbers are telling us [the state is] slowly emerging from the downturn."

The survey indicated that in Maryland, hiring would be strongest in the areas of construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and public utilities, wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance and real estate, education and services.

The results were best in the Baltimore area, where 47 percent of respondents said they planned to hire in the fourth quarter. In Montgomery County, which had the worst results, 10 percent of those surveyed said they would be adding to their payrolls.

"I think it is a significant development," said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia Securities Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., who studies Maryland. "The Baltimore area has held up reasonably well in this recession compared to other areas, maybe because it was not growing as rapidly, so we did not see as much change."

The survey said expectations are "mixed" for hiring in the sectors of durable goods manufacturing and public administration.

Ganguly said his office recently completed two surveys that support Manpower's findings. In a survey of employers in the construction and tourism sectors, both groups said they plan to hire more people in the June-to-November period than they cut in the previous six-month period.

"If we put these two surveys with the Manpower numbers, the economic story is that although there was a national recession and a slowdown in Maryland, we see the economy clearly emerging from the downturn," Gangluly said. "This is very, very good news."

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