The Maryland Public Policy Institute
The latest employment numbers must have Gov. Martin O'Malley worried. For the fourth straight month, the state lost jobs.
The June figures show Maryland losing 11,000 positions and unemployment rising.
O'Malley is not admitting a problem exists, however. His response was to question the validity of the claims.
"With all our economic indicators demonstrating positive trends, we would not be surprised if the Bureau of Labor Statistics once again significantly revises these preliminary numbers," O'Malley said in a statement. "Last month, they not only reported the loss of 1,500 state government jobs we knew not to be true, but also added back 4,600 jobs that their initial report claimed were lost."
The BLS routinely revises data based on new information, but residents of Maryland should expect four months of negative numbers to prompt reflection by the governor on the state of the state. The slow pace of job growth means new college graduates and the long-term unemployed will not be able to find a position in the state's slowing economy. And potential cuts to the federal defense budget could mean the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in the state.
Unfortunately, blaming the bearer of bad news seems to be a trend with O'Malley. Recently he responded to a report based on IRS data by Change Maryland showing a net 31,000 people had left Maryland from 2007 to 2010 by targeting the head of the group, Larry Hogan (full disclosure: he is on the board of the Maryland Public Policy Institute). His spokesman wrote, "Change Maryland--is a GOP-led, partisan organization--founded by a former Ehrlich appointee,--a failed congressional candidate and failed would-be candidate for governor" on a state blog post titled "The Facts" but did not refute the claims.
And if you have seen O'Malley on one of his numerous national television appearances on behalf of the Democratic Governors Association, you will hear him still blaming George W. Bush and the Tea Party for everything that is wrong with the economy, as if President Barack Obama has not been in office for nearly four years.
The real "facts" are that Maryland is not competitive with surrounding states or throughout the nation because the leadership keeps growing the size of the government at the expense of the private sector. Maryland is one of a few states during the recession that increased the size of government at the same time the state lost tens of thousands of private-sector jobs. And as Change Maryland notes, the state has added 24 new taxes and fees recently.
Instead of blaming other people for the state's problems -- and trying to pin the state's future on gambling -- O'Malley must instead focus on attracting business to the state by reducing those fees and taxes. For too long Maryland has relied on the federal government to provide a steady and growing stream of income that it will likely not have in coming years. Higher unemployment won't play well on talk shows for the presumed presidential candidate and it will be even worse for those without a job.