It's just so easy for politicians to repeat what they hear. The recent commentary ("Harbor Point means jobs, inclusion," Aug. 14) by Baltimore City Council President Jack Young is a classic. The constant repeat of "the 7,000 construction jobs and thousands of permanent jobs" has become mind numbing at this point. The 51 percent of new hires from the city is another pearl of wisdom! A healthy level of commercial construction is an important part of any economy, and Harbor Point will create some temporary construction jobs, but new buildings do not create permanent jobs.
The only construction jobs that can currently be forecast are those for the Exelon Energy building. This is a project that will be built by H&S Properties' favorite general contractor from out of state. Its staff for the project is in place. It will sublet most of the work to local companies, who have their own stable employment levels, won't be hiring appreciable numbers of new employees, and thus will not be subject to the 51 percent requirement. The general contractor may hire some temporary, unskilled labor which would be subject to the 51 percent quota. These are highly temporary jobs, however, and thus not a significant factor. Not a major "inclusionary" force by a long shot.
Empty buildings do not create jobs, growing companies create jobs. Exelon's employees are existing staff and thus make no contribution to the "thousands of permanent" jobs being claimed. As for any projections beyond Exelon, any further construction on the site will only come based upon market conditions and would likely be related to relocations from companies in the city's central business district or new apartments or condos none of which generate permanent jobs. It may be that some low-paying service sector jobs could evolve in the distant future with some grade level retail, food service, or hotel housekeeping. But under no stretch of the imagination will thousands of new jobs be created.
The reality is much less attention grabbing than the mind-numbing hype and doesn't result in much political self-promotion.
Gary Moyer, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun