Montgomery Co. job creation slows, job quality increases

I-270

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation says it's not about the quantity of jobs, but about the quality of work.

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — Recent labor and employment reports show that Montgomery County has fallen behind when it comes to creating jobs compared to other nearby counties in the last five years– but the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation says it’s not about the quantity of jobs, but about the quality of work.

Kristin O’Keefe, VP of Communications and Marketing for MCEDC, said, “when you look at the 19,000 jobs that were created in that recent time frame, they were predominantly in scientific and professional services. Those are high paying, professional jobs, with an average salary of about $109,000.”

The corporation notes that nearby Prince George’s County saw an uptick in jobs in transportation and warehousing sectors, along with jobs with the State of Maryland.

“Our life science sector has grown by 30% since 2010, so that’s a key focus area for us,” O’Keefe said.

Reports of a slow down in overall job creation caught the attention of Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer. In a note to constituents Wednesday, he said in part: “We urgently need a new vision and action to grow our job base. We can do it — by understanding our strengths and investing in them.”

In November, then-Council President Nancy Navarro introduced a new economic development framework.

“It all feeds into the outcomes that we want to achieve. What are the gaps? The challenges? What are those barriers, that we need to then address in order to set ourselves in a competitive posture in the region?” Navarro said in her introduction of the framework.

“We’re excited to collaborate with County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council, they have all made economic development a top priority. So, we’re all excited to leverage our resources, work closely with business and make exciting things happen,” O’Keefe said.

The unemployment rate in Montgomery County is 2.6 percent, lower than the national average of 3.5 percent.

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