Md. job losses cause partisan tussle

The conservative advocacy group Change Maryland charged Monday that “Maryland has lost more jobs so far this year than any other state in the nation according to the U.S. Department of Labor,” losing “just over 10,000 jobs since the beginning of this year.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s press office questioned the figures, and said the organization was cherry-picking numbers to fit in with its partisan Republican agenda. Change Maryland is headed by Annapolis land developer Larry Hogan, a once and possibly future Republican candidate for governor.

Both sides in the dispute were using figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they chose a different starting point. O’Malley press secretary Raquel Guillory said that by starting with figures from the end of January to the end of June, Hogan disregarded large job gains in January.

Using the end of December as a starting point, Maryland had only lost 1,200 jobs this year, Guillory said.

Sensitive to charges from Hogan

There is no question that the O’Malley team is sensitive about its performance on job growth, and particularly sensitive about charges from Change Maryland. Hogan gained national attention earlier this month for a report that said Marylanders were leaving the state due to high taxes. He made the same claim related to job losses.

There was no dispute that a BLS report Friday showed Maryland had lost 11,000 jobs in the month of June, the third worst U.S. job loss, behind Wisconsin (down 13,200) and Tennessee (down 12,100).

O’Malley sought to put a positive spin on the numbers, noting improving home sales and lower unemployment and welfare 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 an email. “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.”

Comparing other states in the region

The administration did not dispute Hogan’s assertion that since 2007, when O’Malley took office, Maryland was down about 40,000 jobs, with only neighboring Pennsylvania with a worse job loss of 58,400. But they countered his claim that Maryland had “lost more jobs than any other state in the region except for Pennsylvania” by throwing in numbers for New Jersey, which is down 160,000 jobs.

(On a percentage basis, Delaware had the worst performance in the region, having lost 4.5% of its jobs.)

O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, has often sparred politically on TV and other venues with the Republican governors of New Jersey and Virginia, Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell.

“Governor O’Malley says repeatedly that Maryland has fared better than other states during the recession,” said Hogan.  “He should be talking about our state’s performance relative to others in this region, not compared to Michigan or Nevada.  Once again he is cherry-picking data in an attempt to fool people.”

Virginia is down 32,000 jobs since 2007, and its unemployment rate is now 5.7% compared to Maryland’s unemployment rate of 6.9%.

–Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Jay

    One cannot dispute the tax transfer and spend mentality of MOM nor his 24 tax increases since 2007.
    Care to comment Mr. Lebowitz?

    • Steve Lebowitz

      Our most recent statewide election, in which Gov. O’Malley humiliated Gov. Ehrlich with a 14 point victory margin, affirms a comfortable majority of Marylanders prefer investing in public education and the services we enjoy over appeasing tax whiners. Marylanders understand spending money doesn’t guarantee results, but you can’t have good policy without funding it.

      A Harvard study released this month shows our investment has paid off:  

      “Maryland tops the nation in student improvement, making it a trendsetter for the rest of the country, according to a Harvard University study released Monday.”

      Read Liz Farmer’s Washington Examiner report at

      – Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis

  2. Jay

    Just like Omalley Steve Lebowitz blames Ehrlich for everything.

    • Steve Lebowitz

      I only blame Gov. Ehrlich for his performance.  Facts tell the truth:  After Maryland experienced a net GAIN of 27,754 taxpayers from other states over Gov. Glendening’s second term, we lost 61,311 taxpayers to other states over Gov. Ehrlich’s single term.  Gov. O’Malley has turned the Ehrlich Exodus around, so that fewer Marylander taxpayers departed in the first two years of his term, and in O’Malley’s third year, more taxpayers moved into Maryland than left for the first time since Parris Glendening was governor.

      – Steve Lebowitz, Annapolis

  3. Steve Lebowitz

    Larry Hogan blames Gov. O’Malley because IRS data shows a net of 31,000 people left Maryland since his term began, but how does Larry Hogan explain why TWICE as many people–61,000–left Maryland during Bob Ehrlich’s tenure?  

    Larry Hogan must have made some really bad appointments when he was Bob Ehrlich’s appointments secretary because he presided over the largest exodus of Maryland taxpayers since the IRS has been tracking migration, taking with them $3.5 billion in taxable income.

    Here’s what Larry Hogan doesn’t want you to know:  Maryland was a net population gainer through Gov. Glendening’s second term.  Our fortunes reversed under Gov. Ehrlich’s watch when we lost 61,000.  After Gov. O’Malley unseated Gov. Ehrlich, the exodus reversed itself with losses shrinking every year.  In 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, Maryland was a net gainer of 2,000 new taxpayers for the first time since the Ehrlich Exodus began in 2003.

    – Steve Lebowitz,

    • Stephen Billings

      The reason so many people left was due to the policies that Glending put in place before Mr. Ehrlich was elected. Remember the million dollar income surcharge?

      • Steve Lebowitz

        You’re trying to blame Gov. Parris Glendening, who preceded Gov. Ehrlich, for the fact that an increasing number of taxpayers left Maryland for other states every year of Mr. Ehrlich’s term?

        Here are the numbers:

        2003, Ehrlich’s first year…………………..Net loss of 4,812 Maryland taxpayers to other states
        2004, Ehrlich’s second year…………….Net loss of 10,085 Maryland taxpayers to other states
        2005, Ehrlich’s third year…………………Net loss of 19,878 Maryland taxpayers to other states
        2006, Ehrlich’s fourth year……………….Net loss of 26,536 Maryland taxpayers to other states

        So you see that an increasing number of Maryland taxpayers left Maryland each year of Gov. Ehrlich’s term.  That adds up to a net loss of 61,311 Maryland taxpayers to other states over Bob Ehrlich’s single term, the worst record for any Maryland governor since the IRS has published taxpayer migration data.

        You can argue that Gov. Ehrlich’s predecessor deserves some of the blame for losses over the first and second years of his term, but by Gov. Ehrlich’s third and fourth years, the tax exodus had grown five-fold since his first year, and by your logic Gov. Ehrlich deserves blame for taxpayer exodus through the first two years of Gov. O’Malley’s term.  By Gov. O’Malley’s third year in office, the tax exodus was reversed and more taxpayers moved to Maryland than left for the first time since Parris Glendening was governor.

        By the way, your chronology was off.  The income tax surcharge for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes over $1 million, enacted as a temporary measure, was in effect for tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Parris Glendening’s gubernatorial tenure was 1994-1999, a period, incidentally, that witnessed a net GAIN of taxpayers moving to Maryland from other states. 
        – Steve Lebowitz 

  4. Karlpfrommer

    Tnx Len, Your article tells it all. It’s obvious which party is equivocating.