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Annual update 1997

Economic Forces that shape Montgomery County

Update using 1997 data

NOTE: Produced First Quarter 1998

In the fall of 1996, an interagency staff team presented the first study of the economy, Economic Forces That Shape Montgomery County, Phase I, to the County Council and the Planning Board. At that time, both asked for regular updates to maintain the timeliness of the data.

This annual update provides new information for three important sections of the Economic Forces report. It adds another year to the series of job growth, employment data by sector, and major wage trends. To provide the latest detailed information available, it focuses on the period between the first quarter of 1996 and the first quarter of 1997. Because there was a federal shutdown and a major blizzard in the first quarter of 1996 (which depressed, to a relatively modest extent, job totals for that period), we have also included summary data comparing the second quarters of 1996 and 1997.

This Update reports new information about federal employment, procurement, and space usage in Montgomery County. It also provides trends in commercial real estate characteristics, such as vacancies and lease rates, as recent as January 1998. In addition, a section has been added to the Update in response to Council requests. This section outlines Montgomery County's role in the state's economy to provide further background for policy decisions.

Three elements of the Phase I study are not included in this Update: commercial site characteristics, labor force profile, and business location and space usage characteristics. The Commercial Site Charactertistics Study, Phase I, has been released separately and Phase II will be available at the end of 1998. These reports offer greatly expanded and detailed information about the land available for commercial development and redevelopment in the County. The Montgomery County labor force profile in Phase I of the Economic Forces study will be updated when the results of the 1997 Census Update Survey are available late in 1998, but comparative profiles of the labor force in neighboring localities will not be possible until the results of the 2000 Census are released. Finally, the business location and space usage characteristics section of the Phase I report was not updated because change in this area occurs very slowly.

Detailed summary of the study findings.

NOTE: A copy of the full report is available from the Research & Technology Center.