Recovery helps fuel party comeback
Fewer layoffs, more BRAC jobs help Maryland
Maryland's economy is in better shape than many states', helping area companies host some kind of holiday party, business leaders say.
With the Pentagon's base realignment program "bringing a lot more jobs to the region, we are doing much better than other places in the country," said H. Walter Townshend III, president and CEO of the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce.
Another reason for companies to celebrate this year is fewer layoffs. Employers nationally reported almost 500,000 job cuts from January through November, down 60 percent from the same period in 2009, according to Chicago global outplacement and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
Maryland saw 112 mass-layoff actions when at least 50 employees are cut by a single employer from January to October, a decline from 119 actions in the same period in 2009, according to U.S. Department of Labor figures.
The government and nonprofit sectors have seen the most layoffs this year. Federal layoffs will likely continue next year with the new Congress pushing for significant spending cuts, said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger.
Vicky Surles, administrator of the Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard of companies giving a small bonus this year after not doing so last year. That ties in with a finding of the Bureau of National Affairs survey that saw 41 percent of respondents saying their company will give employees a gift or bonus this year, up from 33 percent in 2009.
A few employers are forgoing parties in favor of cash. After hosting a catered party last year, the North American unit of a Swedish industrial products manufacturer gave each employee a $100 gift card and a half-day off to shop, Challenger said.
Some 58 percent of respondents to a survey by New York executive search firm Amrop Battalia Winston said their business would raise salaries or offer more flexible time to help boost employee morale next year, up from 30 percent who indicated that a year ago.