Maryland’s first-of-its-kind economic report finds mixed signals

Julia Eisen – WMAL News | January 3, 2024

Maryland has continued to tote strong economic indicators but underlying problems have crept up to the surface, causing some concerns.

Comptroller Brooke Lierman released the first ever State of the Economy Report on Wednesday, detailing the contradicting economic measures.

The report collected data from different businesses, economic policy leaders and community organizations across the state’s vast economic landscape. The report will be used as a guide as the state continues to deal with post-pandemic economic recovery.

“Our economy has proven to be quite resilient coming out of the pandemic,” Comptroller Lierman said during a Board of Public Works meeting. “We have the country’s lowest unemployment rate and we are seeing job and GDP growth in several key areas.”

In addition to the low unemployment rate, Maryland also has a high median household income at $108,200.

However, there has been stagnant growth since 2016, according to the report. Maryland’s total GDP growth since 2016 totals just 1.6 percent while neighboring Virginia grew by 11.2 percent. The national GDP growth from the last seven years totaled almost 14 percent.

“We have a very shallow labor pool right now. Our labor force participation has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels like it has in the rest of the country,” Lierman said.

On top of that, Maryland saw its first population decline since World War II.

“There are a lot of factors behind our population and labor shortages but one of the big ones that comes up in the data and that we’ve heard about from folks in every corner of the state is a lack of housing options,” Lierman explained.

Forbes Advisor Index and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center Index both ranked Maryland as one of the states with the highest costs of living, according to the report.

The national median price of a home is $348,600. Meanwhile’s median home price sits at $411,200.

During a Wednesday Board of Public Works meeting, Lierman shared that the economic trends found in the report will help analyze the headwinds and tailwinds of the state’s economy moving forward.

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