Chamber’s Economic Outlook Breakfast Projects Future Economic Trends

On Thursday, March 28th, The Harford County Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Economic Outlook event, sponsored by APG Federal Credit Union, at Water’s Edge Event Center. Featured speakers, Brooke Lierman, Comptroller of Maryland, Dr. Darius Irani of Towson University, Karen Holt of Harford County’s Office of Economic Development, and Rick Fletcher of The Kelly Group, shared economic updates from the federal, state, and local levels. 

Harford Chamber past Board Chair, Mary Ann Bogarty of Jarrettsville Federal Savings & Loan, welcomed guests and recognized dignitaries in attendance. Debi Williams, Vice President of Business Banking with APG Federal Credit Union offered sponsor remarks, and Monica Worrell of APG Federal Credit Union led the invocation and pledge. Additional event sponsors included: Jarrettsville Federal Savings & Loan, Towson University in Northeastern Maryland, Crabby Axe Throwing, Beacon Staffing Alternatives, Harford Bank, Peak Partners, and University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. 

Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman presented an update on Maryland’s economy, focused on building resilience as a state. She cited that Maryland’s economy is not growing at the rate that would be expected with our many resources, so her office is creating new systems and collecting new data to determine why this may be and what we can do to encourage continued economic diversity and growth. Lierman also shared the system updates that her office is making, including the new Maryland Tax Connect system. Despite initial difficulties, Lierman announced new approaches to better serve the business community and provided attendees with information on the new system and other Comptroller initiatives. 

Dr. Darius Irani provided a federal economic overview as well as additional state updates. The national economy continues to trend positively, with an increasing GDP for five straight quarters. He shared that national inflation has subsided since its peak in January of 2022, but is still nearly double that of pre-pandemic levels. Despite continued challenges, consumer sentiment seems to be rebounding in the first quarter of 2024, a positive for local business. 

Karen Holt provided an update from Harford County’s Office of Economic Development, sharing positive trends for demographic and wage growth in Harford County. A projected 17% increase in employment over the next 6 years could mean an ease of employment difficulties for local businesses. Holt also cited Aberdeen Proving Ground and defense, healthcare, agribusiness, and retail growth as opportunities for Harford County’s growth in the next few years. 

Rick Fletcher shared a recap of the markets showing the highs and lows over the past few years. Despite a volatile market due to many economic factors, Fletcher showed attendees that if you stuck through until today, your profile would see an 86% increase in value since 2020. He encouraged attendees to “have a plan, hold the course, and weather the storm” to see positive results in the end. 


Photos of the event were graciously provided by MidAtlantic Photographic LLC and the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. View event photos here

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