Friday, September 21, 2012

HoCo By the Numbers…Fall 2012

The unemployment rate in HoCo currently stands at 5.5%, down slightly from the same period last year and still significantly below the national rate (8.1%). During the same period of time the total number of jobs in the county rose 4.3% to 159,503.

These numbers were reported in the September 2012 issue of Howard County Maryland Economic Indicators, a joint publication of the Howard County government and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. The report tracks data through June.

HoCo also experienced a slight drop in office space vacancy from 13.9% to 13.8% which occurred in spite of an additional half million square feet being added to the market. HoCo now has over 11.5 million square feet of office space.

Other loco economic highlights include a 7.5% increase in personal income tax receipts and a 93.7% increase in Planning and Zoning fees, though building permits declined 16.9% from the same period last year.

It’s been a good year so far for HoCo agriculture too with soybean and corn expected to produce record crops. “Beef milk and bread prices are expected to increase in the long term due to increases in feed prices resulting from the Midwestern drought.”

This release of this report comes at the same time we learn that HoCo remains one of the top ten richest counties in the country. Seven of the nations richest counties are in the DC metro area, with HoCo in the number 5 spot, down two places from last year.  According to this story by Carol Morello in The Washington Post, “Maryland has the nation’s highest household income level, and Virginia is ninth.”

“The rankings in the 2011 American Community Survey released Thursday expand Washington’s dominance among high-income households, reflecting a regional economy that was largely cushioned as the recession yanked down income levels elsewhere. Household incomes rose in most counties around Washington last year, even as they continued to sink around the country.”
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