New Statistics Illustrate COVID-19’s Economic Impact in Q2 of 2020
BALTIMORE, MD (December 21, 2020) – The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (“BMC”) issued an update to its Baltimore Regional Recovery Dashboard entitled “Monthly Employment by Industry and Jurisdiction” featuring employment figures from January of 2019 to June of 2020. This data, pulled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), includes the newest employment figures available from Q2 of 2020. This QCEW release is the first publicly reported data from the early months of the pandemic. BMC’s dashboard aims to illustrate the initial economic impact of COVID-19 on jobs in the Baltimore Region.
Maryland experienced a 14.1% decline in total employment in April of 2020 as compared to April of 2019. The Baltimore Region saw a 13.7% drop in jobs during the same period, with Queen Anne’s leading in percentage job loss among counties in the region at 24.4%. Anne Arundel County saw a 16.2% drop, while Baltimore County experienced a 15.1% loss.
Looking at employment in February of 2020 – prior to government restrictions on businesses and social gatherings – as compared to June of this year, the state as a whole saw a 9.1% decline in employment while the Baltimore Region experienced a loss of 8.9%. Howard saw the largest drop in jobs among counties in the region during this same period with an 11.2% decline, while Anne Arundel experienced a loss of 10.5%.
“We know our neighbors and local businesses are struggling amid COVID-19 and this important update will provide elected leaders with the first regional picture of the pandemic’s impact on employment,” said Baltimore County Executive and BMC Board Chair Johnny Olszewski. “As leaders we must continue to do whatever we can to use data to inform our decisions and this new tool will help us better understand the challenges—and develop solutions—to support our hardest hit workers and industries.”
The dashboard also isolates employment data by industry and jurisdiction. Industry data is presented at both the 2-digit and 4-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) levels. Two-digit industry codes represent broad sectors of the economy, such as healthcare and construction, while 4-digit industry codes represent more specific industry groups, like offices of physicians and residential building construction.
Among the top 20 4-digit NAICS industries by total number of jobs, Maryland saw the largest percentage declines in employment among four main categories when comparing April of 2020 to the same month last year. Specifically, these were: amusement and recreation industries (golf courses, bowling alleys, gyms, etc.) down 66.2%; traveler accommodation (hotels, motels, etc.) down 64.6%; restaurants down 47.9%; and department stores down 36.7%. These four industries alone accounted for a loss of approximately 140,000 jobs across the state year over year.
Alternatively, during the period between February and June of 2020, traveler accommodation lost 46.3% of its jobs, amusement and recreation industries lost 38.3%, restaurants were down 25.8% and department stores declined 24.9% statewide.
In the Baltimore Region, among the top 20 4-digit NAICS industries by total number of jobs, four saw the most significant percentage declines in employment year over year from April 2019 to 2020: traveler accommodation dropped 64.8%, restaurants lost 50.9%; employment services decreased 27.9%; and physicians’ offices declined 14.4%. Collectively, these four industries accounted for a loss of approximately 66,000 jobs in the region.
However, between February and June of 2020, the four hardest hit industries at the 4-digit NAICS level by percentage employment loss in the Baltimore Region shift slightly: traveler accommodation dropped 45%, restaurants lost 27.4%, individual and family services (non-residential child and elder care) dropped 16.7%, and employment services decreased 14%.
In addition to the percent change in employment, the dashboard also displays jobs over time for all 2-digit NAICS industries and the top 20 4-digit NAICS industries by total private employment at the state, region and county levels. While the declines in employment between February and June of this year noted earlier are illustrative, this comparison obscures the fluctuation in jobs in the intervening months and does not account for seasonal employment changes.
Restaurants, for example, employed roughly 87,000 employees in the Baltimore Region in February of 2020. By April of this year, the industry was down to 44,000 employees in the region, but back up to 63,000 workers in June, recovering almost 20,000 positions. However, year over year, the industry was down roughly 30,000 employees from June of 2019, when it employed 94,000. Similarly, traveler accommodation accounted for roughly 11,000 jobs in February of 2020 for the region. This industry hit a low of approximately 4,000 employees in May, but recovered 2,000 jobs, reporting total employment of 6,000 in June of 2020. Again, year over year, this industry experienced a drop of roughly 6,000 jobs from June of 2019, when it employed over 12,000. Both industries, we note, typically see peak employment during the summer months.
“The data shows a dramatic initial reaction to COVID restrictions, with a sudden loss of jobs between March and April of 2020, followed by a gradual uptick in employment in many industries through June,” said BMC Executive Director Michael B. Kelly. “The data suggests the infusion of funds from the federal government to businesses and localities helped prevent a deeper loss in employment. We will continue to track and report this information to help our region’s leaders frame essential economic recovery efforts.”
A small but meaningful example of emerging employment opportunity, warehousing and storage jobs grew by 29.1% from April 2019 to 2020, adding roughly 6,000 employees across the state. From February to June of 2020, the same industry grew its employment by 21.5% or approximately 5,000 jobs statewide to a high of nearly 32,000 over the period covered.
In the Baltimore Region, services to buildings and dwellings (landscaping, janitorial, carpet and upholstery, etc.) added 8% employment, grocery stores increased 4.9%, and electronic instrument manufacturing added 3.6%, collectively adding a total of 3,000 jobs between February and June of 2020.
About the Baltimore Regional Recovery Dashboard
Launched in July of 2020, the dashboard is a tool to help policymakers understand and track the impacts of COVID-19 upon the seven county metropolitan area. Hosted on BMC’s website, the dashboard features data from across the organization’s areas of focus, including employment statistics, impacted industries, development permit activity, telework eligibility, and transportation.
About the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) as “[a] program [that] publishes a quarterly count of employment and wages reported by employers covering more than 95 percent of U.S. jobs, available at the county, MSA, state and national levels by industry.” The Q2 2020 QCEW data was released to the public on December 2, 2020. The Q3 2020 data is scheduled for release on March 9, 2021. For more information, visit https://www.bls.gov/cew/.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) works collaboratively with the chief elected officials in the region to create initiatives to improve the quality of life and economic vitality. BMC, as the Baltimore region’s council of governments, hosts the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB), the federal metropolitan planning organization (MPO), and supports local government by coordinating efforts in a range of policy areas including emergency preparedness, housing, cooperative purchasing, environmental planning and workforce development.
BMC’s Board of Directors includes the executives of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties, the mayor of the City of Baltimore, a member of the Carroll County and Queen Anne’s County boards of commissioners, a member of the Maryland State Senate, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, and a gubernatorial appointee from the private sector.