Economic Resilience in California-Lexington Park, MD

Download a Hi-Res PDF report

In the previous post, I noted that the unemployment rate in California-Lexington Park has performed the best among metro areas in Maryland throughout the current crises. In this post, I examine the occupational structure of California-Lexington Park (C-LP) to determine why the metro area may be faring so well.

To examine occupational structure in C-LP, I sort BLS occupation data by occupational location quotient, which indicates if the share of total employment accounted for by an occupation in C-LP is greater or less than the nation as a whole. Sorting the data by occupational location quotients immediately reveals that C-LP has high concentrations of numerous technical occupations that require advanced degrees (Table 1). For example, the location quotient for aerospace engineers indicates that the share of employment accounted for by aerospace engineers is 45.8 times greater in C-LP than the nation as a whole. The top 20 detailed occupations by location quotient, all with a location quotient great than 7, account for 20.0% of employment in C-LP. While working from home certainly makes aspects of these occupation’s work more difficult, most of these occupations can successfully accomplished their work at home.

The high concentration of these highly skilled jobs is undoubtedly driven by defense contractors locating near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Aerospace contractors in the area include GE, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and Lockheed Martin. Given that defense contracts on aerospace projects have long lead times and the occupational mix  of the metro is conducive to working from home, it is unsurprising that the area has coasted through the economic aspects of the current crises relatively unscathed.

Table 1. Maryland MSA Unemployment