ABC Baltimore members were told Friday that despite sluggish new home sales and the after-effects of eight years of tax increases, the economy in this region is robust. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu told a crowd of construction executives that consumer spending continues to be a driver for the economy, not only here in Maryland, but across the country. But to be expected, there are caveats to Basu’s remarks: a strengthening U.S. dollar is hurting U.S. exports and there is continued evidence that not everyone is participating in the recovery. Despite the recovery in construction, said Basu, there are approximately one million fewer workers than there were prior to the recession.
Mike Gill, secretary for the newly created Department of Commerce for the State of Maryland, spoke about Governor Hogan’s mission to send a very strong message to businesses across the United States that Maryland is open for business. Sec. Gill spoke of the recommendations from the Augustine Commission (that focused on addressing Maryland’s ability to compete economically) were all adopted by the General Assembly. It’s a very good start, he told the crowd. “But we need to build on it and stay focused and stay positive.”