Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on wbal.com on October 5, 2018.
A survey of Maryland’s businesses found that a growing number of business executives see sunny skies for the state’s economy. But the skies are cloudy as they seek more skilled workers and move about the state’s transportation infrastructure.
The survey, conducted by the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, found that 46 percent surveyed had a positive view of the business climate- a welcome increase from 30 percent in 2011.
The outlook for job hiring is also strong- 46 percent – say they expect to increase hiring in the next year.
But two issues of concern emerged:
- 56 percent said they were having trouble finding workers with the necessary skills.
- And only 26 percent identified the state’s transportation network as an asset to business.
What action should be taken from these results? First, state leaders should capitalize on the “business friendly” attitude and aggressively seek to attract more private sector employment. Second, efforts must be taken to educate and train more skilled workers and keep those that graduate from Maryland’s colleges and universities local. And finally, more investment must be directed to transportation projects that fuel economic growth while enhancing mobility.
On balance, the survey points to a growing optimism about Maryland’s business climate. But it also sheds light on concerns that must be addressed to sustain this positive outlook.
The survey results, if used effectively, can serve as a roadmap that can make the prospects for economic growth and job creation even stronger.
I’m Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.