County Analyst Discusses Economic Development

Posted Date: 
October 11, 2012

Economic Development Vice-Chair Bill Robertson welcomed MCCC members and introduced the speaker, Jacob Sesker, Senior Legislative Analyst, Montgomery County Council.
Mr. Sesker began by explaining his responsibilities working primarily as an analyst on economic development issues at the Montgomery County Council. He works for the entire Council and focuses on the work of the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. He works closely with the County's Department of Economic Development and the Finance Department to provide advice and guidance to the County Council.
He spoke about how he views the local economy, he would say it is "stable and improved". He looks closely as resident employment and unemployment when analyzing the economy. He said that Montgomery County's unemployment remains low compared to the national average at close to 5% but is still high compared to the County's historical levels of about 2%.
Mr. Sesker described that Montgomery County's average weekly wages have remained steady rather than declined. He spoke about how resident income has remained steady, but there are reasons to be watchful, such as additional local jurisdictions competing for office jobs and residents. Mr. Sesker spoke about how the improvements in Washington, DC in terms of jobs and quality of life adds another level of regional economic competition for Montgomery County.
He described how important it is to be vigilant in the multi-tenant office market. He said that the vacancy rate in the County is high, at a 20% vacancy rate. He explained that the vacancy rate can be attributed to factors like federal consolidation and teleworking.
Mr. Sesker described efforts that the County Council has passed recently to aid economic development. He spoke about Bill 14-12, which would establish a strategic plan for economic development in order to increase collaboration between the Council and the Executive. He also spoke about increased spending from the County's economic development fund, and how crucial financial incentives are to retaining companies and also large employers like federal agencies located in Montgomery County. Mr. Sesker also reviewed other legislation that the Council has passed to provide assistance to small businesses and non-legislative efforts to streamline the development review process.
MCCC members engaged in a discussion with Mr. Sesker on topics such as development and retaining and attracting companies.
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