Author: Susan Steward

PROM: RESI’s New Occupational Tool

A few weeks ago, I published a blog post regarding nursing demand in Maryland—specifically, demand for registered nurses. At the time, I briefly introduced RESI’s new industry-to-occupation matrix and asked for suggestions for a name. Well, after at least a month of brainstorming (and voting!), we have finally settled on RESI’s Predictive Regional Occupational Matrix, or PROM. We’ll make this blog post RESI’s PROM-posal to you, and a more formal introduction of how PROM can be useful in analyzing the workforce needs of a region. Goodbye to the Old, Welcome the New! PROM is a tool that allows RESI...

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The Economic Outlook of Registered Nurses in Maryland

Everybody Likes Nurses . . . Nurses USA In June during the REMI webinar, I discussed the potential labor supply shortage for four-year degree workers in the construction industry. At the time, I suggested other occupations in Maryland that could experience this problem in the next few years. Naturally, my first thought was registered nurses (RNs)—many hospitals are beginning to require nurses to have four-year degrees and more training. Another growing issue is that the baby boomer population is now reaching retirement age. These issues, combined with the increase in health insurance access from the Affordable Care Act (ACA),...

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#BetterExecution: How Starbucks “Race Together” Campaign Was a Good Idea with Flawed Execution

As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War, “Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” In other words, perhaps a low-key approach is better to begin than an extremely head-on one. Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign is an example of the latter. Was Howard Schultz’s idea of “Race Together” bad in and of itself, or was it the execution of the idea? Starbucks has been practicing “conscious capitalism,” for years with campaigns such as employee benefit programs and job creation campaigns. So, what is this idea of “conscious capitalism” and how does this campaign seem different?...

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Loyalty Programs, Gasoline, and Maryland’s Economy

Loyalty programs have been around for ages. The idea behind them is to gain information about consumers, then tailor a store’s offers to them to increase their spending in store and to ward off competition. Often, these programs were done on a store-by-store basis and offers were targeted for their stores alone. However, in the last few years the economy has witnessed the emergence of cross-store loyalty programs. For example, gas rewards and grocery stores. Currently there are several versions of this program.  For example, the grocery chain Giant has partnered with Shell and, similarly, Safeway has partnered with Exxon/Mobil. Under these programs, a consumer purchasing their weekly groceries at Giant or Safeway can swipe their “Bonus” or “Rewards” card and redeem savings on their groceries. Then, the additional cross-store rewards begin. The store states that for every dollar a consumer spends, they will receive a specific number of gas rewards points. Using their newly accrued rewards points, grocery consumers can proceed to the pump and enter their card number, redeeming these points to reduce their per gallon price for gas. As Morgan and Hunt (1994) state in their research, these programs operate under the assumption that both the consumer and the retailer are committed to specific brands. However, as Liu (2007) points out, the consumer preference for grocery stores and gasoline brands may be relatively low and therefore...

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Unemployment and Spatial Mismatch in Baltimore

Baltimore has long been in a state of transformative flux. The late 1950s gave rise to a growing desire to leave urban areas for suburban ones. Baltimore was one of many urban causalities; recent population estimates for city residents has yet to match that of the late 1950s. However, new economic incentives could reverse this trend. High and long-term unemployment has been a problematic issue for Baltimore for several years. As of 2013, Baltimore had the third highest unemployment rate in Maryland, at 10.1 percent, well above the national average for 2013. A paper released by the National Bureau...

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What Makes Baseball Profitable

April marks a few beginnings for Maryland this year. House legislation increasing the minimum wage passed, Noah was set adrift from the top of the box office by Captain America, the weather hasn’t been negative twenty degrees, and baseball returns to Camden Yards. Of course, to get into the mood for the season, I like to pull out my collection of baseball movies. This would include the following: Major League (if you ask, you don’t get it), 42, The Sandlot, A League of Their Own, and Moneyball. The last one in the list is a new addition to the...

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The Minimum Wage Affair

The debate over changing Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 has been ongoing since late 2013. The Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014 (H.B. 0295) passed in Maryland’s House in February, but concerns regarding community health workers have stalled its progress within the Senate. To date, several studies have analyzed the minimum wage. However, no clear, concise conclusion has emerged from the vast empirical knowledge base. Researchers such as Card, Krueger, Hoffman, and Neumark are some of the bigger names cited when economists discuss the potential impacts associated with changes to the minimum wage. Recent studies of Maryland’s current minimum wage proposal include that of Dr. Stephen Fuller from George Mason University. Dr. Fuller’s team used a version of REMI’s PI+ model to determine the potential impacts associated with changes in Maryland’s minimum wage. However, their analysis looked at the effects of the minimum wage change occurring all at once. The last minimum wage change in Maryland occurred in a series of three-year increments, rising by $0.70 each time until finally reaching $7.25 in 2009. RESI had a brainstorm: “What would happen if they repeated the same technique between 2015 and 2017 to raise the wage from $7.25 to $10.10?” That brainstorm is how this blog post began. RESI used estimates from Dr. Fuller’s report (more specifically, Table 1), data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics...

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“Santa Perry is Coming to Town!”

I’m not opposed to healthy competition among states for industries. In fact, sometimes, I think it’s necessary to create a competitive atmosphere for business growth. The growth of some small businesses, though, may rely on the incentives offered by lawmakers in a given state. Tax credits, rebates, grants, and interest-free loans have often been methods used by state legislatures to create thriving business cultures. However, when a governor shows up in a state and starts handing out statements about taxes like he’s Kris Kringle, the discussions about business climate comes full circle. Last month, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, visited our state to share information about the business climate of his state. I love Texas for many reasons, but taxes are usually not the first reason to come to mind. For example, Texas has a state sales tax of 6.25 percent and, in state fiscal year 2013, was the largest source of government revenue. Although Governor Perry brings tidings of good cheer to the business community, I notice something I’m not familiar with in Texas’s tax records. According to the 2013 budget, Texas collected Franchise Tax revenues of more than $4 billion. What is franchise tax? Does it only impact franchisee owners? I thought Texas didn’t have business taxes. The last statement is true. Texas does not have a corporate income tax. However, the state does have a franchise...

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Growing Green Jobs in Maryland

RESI was recently invited to attend the 2013 Maryland Climate Change Summit at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights. The Summit announced the official release of Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan, which RESI has been a part of since 2009. Since 2011 RESI has worked with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to produce a comprehensive report about the potential economic impacts from all the programs encompassing the plan. The 2011 results were released as Chapter 7 in the plan in 2012. At that time, RESI used IMPLAN to do the analysis. IMPLAN is a static model that is exceptional for modeling a single change for a single period. During the first report, this was sufficient, given that the majority of the analysis was based on the effects on Maryland’s economy once the plan was implemented. The investment for programs was analyzed on a per $1 million basis, so results read as “For every $1 million invested, this is the impact on jobs/wages/output…” The report released last month is a more comprehensive analysis, looking at both the short-term investment period and the long-term savings from the programs. RESI decided this level of analysis needed a more dynamic tool and optioned to use the REMI PI+ model. REMI gave RESI the ability to use a model that allowed for dynamic effects from the previous year investment levels to...

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Late Summer Blooming: The Housing Market Recovery?

Whether it is a mortgage payment or a rental payment, the largest bill most households pay every month is the one for housing. According to the Consumer Expenditure Survey, between 2010 and 2011 Baltimore residents spent just over $20,000 on housing annually. Of total household expenditures, that is approximately 37.4 percent of a household’s annual budget. After the 2007 housing crash, the question that followed was, “When will the housing market recover?” One of the largest expenditures (and investments) for most families suffered a major setback in value, and last year interest rates fell to a low of 3.35 percent for thirty-year mortgages, according to Freddie Mac. Recent news has suggested that the housing market may finally be bouncing back as median home prices for Maryland increased from May 2012 by 5.3 percent. According to the latest data from the Maryland Association of Realtors, homes sold and under contract are both up from May 2012 as well. All signs are pointing to a potential recovery within the housing market. To quote RESI’s Executive Director, Dr. Daraius Irani, “it’s crawling.” Despite the good news of some recovery, some counties have reported negative home sales data between May 2012 and 2013. Places such as Baltimore City experienced little to no change while more western Maryland regions and eastern shore regions experienced negative change in median home sale prices during that period....

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