Business Climate Survey

Survey: Md. Business Growth Accelerated in 2018 3rd Quarter

Henry Fawell Feb 11, 2019



Henry Fawell

Survey:  Md. Business Growth Accelerated in 2018 3rd Quarter


ROCKVILLE, MD (December 20, 2018) — Maryland’s economic growth accelerated in the third quarter of 2018, with more Maryland firms reporting growth in sales and employment. That is one new finding from the Maryland Business Climate Survey, a joint project between the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute and the nonpartisan Maryland Public Policy Institute.

The survey of senior executives at 250 Maryland businesses provides a quantitative glimpse into the sentiment of the state’s business leaders during the third quarter of 2018.

“Maryland businesses continue to take a bullish view of the future,” said Richard Clinch, Ph.D., author of the survey and Executive Director of the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute. “Maryland policymakers must continue to identify ways to alleviate the workforce shortage businesses encounter as well as minimizing the negative impact of tax policy on businesses.”

Among the key findings of 2018 Q3 Maryland Business Climate Survey:

  • Local Businesses Bullish on the Future: Statewide, forty-nine percent of firms reported an increase in sales compared with the previous year, while just 12 percent reported a decrease. Maryland firms are optimistic about future growth. A majority of firms surveyed expected the market for their products and services to expand in 2019 (64 percent), with only 3 percent expecting a market contraction.

  • Hiring Projected Rise for 2019: Fifty-three percent of the businesses surveyed expected to see an increase in their employment in the next year, while 2 percent expected that their employment will decline. In the second quarter of 2018, 46 percent of firms expected employment to increase and 4 percent expected it to decrease.

  • Workforce Shortage Persists: A majority (51 percent) of business surveyed reported that their companies had experienced difficulties in obtaining workers with the skills necessary to fill specific job requirements. Forty-seven percent reported no difficulties. This is slightly improved from the second quarter, when 56 percent of business surveyed reported that their companies had experienced difficulties in obtaining workers with the skills necessary to fill specific job requirements and 43 percent reported o difficulties.

  • Maryland’s Business Climate Improves Slightly: The percentage of firms viewing the state as business-friendly rose slightly from 46 percent in second quarter 2018 to 52 percent in third quarter 2018. The percentage of businesses with a negative view of the state’s business climate remained steady at 17 percent.

  • Divergent Views Between Baltimore & D.C. Suburbs: Sixty-one percent of firms in the Washington suburbs had a positive view of the business climate while only 33 percent of firms in Baltimore City had a positive view.

“Economic optimism must not become a regional phenomenon in Maryland,” said Christopher B. Summers, president and chief executive officer of the Institute. “Lowering the tax and regulatory burden in Baltimore is a critical step to ensuring job creators there share the same sense of optimism for the future as those in the Washington suburbs.”


Read the full survey findings and methodology at

About the Maryland Public Policy Institute: Founded in 2001, the Maryland Public Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization that focuses on state policy issues. The Institute’s mission is to formulate and promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society.  Learn more at

About the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute: The Jacob France Institute serves as a leading source of high quality statistical information and research covering the interaction of business, worker, education, social service, community development, and government investment decisions.