By Ana Faguy
The Maryland Democratic Party released data Tuesday showing that job growth in the state has become stagnant and has grown at a smaller rate than the rest of the nation under Gov. Larry Hogan (R) – and the Hogan administration quickly hit back.
The Democrats’ report, comprised of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a stark contrast to the narrative painted by Hogan over the past several months.
The party said that Maryland’s employment level has increased by 3.56 percent since just before Hogan took office. The national increase has been 4.14 percent in that same time-frame, and 4.08 percent in neighboring Virginia.
As in the rest of the country manufacturing jobs in the state are down.
Maryland has also lost 2,600 private sector jobs compared to Virginia, which added 3,200.
Since President Trump was inaugurated, Maryland has not created any new jobs, according to the data released.
Trump took office two weeks after Hogan unveiled his 2017 Maryland Jobs Initiative, which he called a plan to “provide incentives for the creation of thousands of jobs and $5 million in strategic investments in education and workforce training to put even more Marylanders back to work.”
Elements of that plan were adopted in legislation on the final day of the General Assembly session in April.
The Democrats’ report and the data within creates an opposing jobs narrative for them ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial race.
These numbers are likely to be used over the next year regardless of who the Democratic nominee is. The party, with no clear frontrunner, will have to unite over its shared opposition to Hogan. The new state Democratic chairman, Kathleen Matthews, has started making the argument.
“While Larry Hogan touts so-called ‘economic success,’ the reality is that Marylanders have been stuck with less money in their pockets and stagnating job growth under his watch,” Matthews said in a statement. “Maryland’s economy is falling behind its neighbors and the nation as a whole because of Governor Hogan’s failure to move the state’s economy forward.”
State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D), who signaled his intention to run for governor earlier this year, echoed that sentiment.
“No matter how many press conferences he has, the numbers don’t lie,” Madaleno said. “Like we’ve seen time and time again under the Hogan Administration, it’s all talk and no results.”
But in a response released to Maryland Matters on Tuesday night, the Hogan administration suggested that the Democrats are cherry-picking the federal statistics for partisan purposes.
“When Governor Hogan took office, Maryland’s economy was in extremely bad shape,” the statement read. “After 40 consecutive tax, toll, and fee hikes, our state had lost nearly 100,000 jobs and 8,000 businesses had either left or closed their doors. Since the governor took office in January 2015, Maryland has created nearly 100,000 new jobs, the rate of unemployment is at its lowest point in a decade, and the average Maryland family has seen its weekly wages increase.”
Maryland has created about 93,000 jobs since Hogan took office, compared to 38,000 during the eight years former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) was in office.
“We appreciate that these partisan politicians are admitting Maryland’s economy is much better off under Governor Hogan’s leadership than it was when they were in charge of the entire state government, but it’s unlikely that attacking the governor’s record of creating jobs and expanding opportunity will convince Marylanders that they should return to the days of routine tax hikes and job losses,” it read. “Maryland’s economic strength and the governor’s leadership on the issue speak for themselves, everything else is just partisan noise.”