Friday Five | June 17, 2022

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.


1. Hogan unveils aid for businesses, highlights his economic record at conference

On Tuesday, Governor Hogan announced a third round of grants through the Project Restore program, giving $25 million in new state aid for Maryland small businesses. During the press conference at the Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City, Hogan said the aid, which will be available beginning July 7, is a continuation of his efforts to make the state more business friendly.

“We changed the entire mission of state government to be unabashedly pro-jobs and pro-business,” Hogan said. “We took Maryland’s overall economic performance from 49th out of 50 states to No. 6.”

Hogan also used the opportunity to highlight his accomplishments during his eight years in office, including the state’s current economic growth rate, the nearly $5 billion in tax relief passed earlier this year, the increases in funding for Project Restore and for leading the charge to restore cuts in state road aid.

Read the full story here.


2. Fed attacks inflation with its largest rate hike since 1994

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a point, the largest hike since 1994, in an effort to counteract inflation without causing a recession. The rate hike came after data released last Friday showed U.S. inflation rose last month to a four-decade high of 8.6%. The Fed’s new rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, will now be pegged to the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate of 1.5% to 1.75%, and Fed policymakers forecast a doubling of that range by year’s end.

During a news conference, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank is committed to bringing inflation down to the Fed’s target rate of 2%, which may result in a slightly higher unemployment rate as economic growth slows. The Fed anticipates the rates to be pushed even higher to ultimately bring inflation down, which will continue to increase the cost of borrowing and inflict pressure on stocks. The S&P 500 has already sunk more than 20% this year. However, Powell reassures that with unemployment near a five-decade low, wages rising and improved consumer finances, the economy can withstand higher interest rates and avoid a recession.

Read the full story here.


3. Shifting populations: Results from 2021 Census Estimates

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped major workplace trends due to organizations having to shift to the new norm of remote work, allowing workers to envision a future in which where they worked and where they lived did not have to be one in the same. We continue to hear stories, including stories from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s own outreach, that signal workers are moving from urban to more rural areas when given the option to work from home. But do the stories align with data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, which includes population changes at the national, state and local levels? The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond dives deep into the 2021 population estimates released in March 2022 that capture population shifts across urban and rural areas following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Fifth District, which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, amongst others.

View the full report here.


Next Thursday at 1 PM! Public webinar on the Climate Solutions Now Act

Join the Maryland Commission on Climate Change for a virtual talk regarding The Climate Solutions Now Act which was passed in Maryland earlier this year and is the most ambitious near-term greenhouse gas target of any U.S. state. Speakers include Commission Chair, Suzanne Dorsey, and Commissioners Paul Pinsky, Kim Coble and Mike Powell. Register here.


4. U.S. Chamber: Tariffs are raising the cost of summer – Time to cut the tax on summertime fun

Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson told the Board of Public Works on Wednesday that her agency continues to dig out from “a perfect storm” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has cleared 98% of unemployment claims. Robinson addressed the board in an effort to extend the agency’s current contract that provides call center workers, freeing state employees to review claims. The 6-month extension, unanimously approved by the board on Wednesday, will be in place until the department hires a new vendor that will be ready to handle the next wave of unemployment filings.

“There is talk of a recession,” Robinson said, adding that over the next six months “we want to make sure we have the ability to scale up and scale down. We continue to hope to scale down.”

Read the full story here.


5. Maryland labor department gets $1.2M to grow workforce program 

On Monday, Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson announced that more than $1.2 million in state funds would go towards growing the department’s Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland program. EARN Maryland is the state’s workforce solution that helps businesses cultivate the skilled workforce they need to compete while preparing Marylanders for meaningful careers. Funding will go towards the 10 partnerships announced on Monday comprised of more than 70 employer partners that will train nearly 400 Marylanders for careers in high-demand industries such as health care and information technology. A recent study on the economic impact of EARN found that for every dollar the state invests into the program, an additional $16.78 in economic activity is created.

Read the full story here.


Save the date! Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Oct. 19

Congressional Roundup 2022 on Sept. 14 in D.C.

Marylanders will elect their next Governor on November 8, 2022. Our forum gives Chamber members, partner organizations and our community the opportunity to engage and hear from both gubernatorial candidates on the ballot in a moderated conversation regarding issues that are critical to the Maryland business community.

Registration is required and will open mid-August.

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