- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2000

Cooling off?

A decline in reported revenue growth and lower than expected employment in Maryland this year could signal that the state's economy is cooling off, according to the Maryland Business Climate Survey released Friday.
"While expectations remain strong, reduced hiring activity may indicate that Maryland will be headed for a soft landing," said Richard Clinch, program manager for the University of Baltimore's Maryland BuFsiness Research Partnership (MBRP).
The percentage of companies reporting revenue growth dropped from 65 percent in the first quarter of 2000 to 54 percent in the second quarter. Companies expecting employment gains fell slightly from 57 percent in the first quarter to 54 percent in the second quarter.
The report also found that:
Thirty-four percent of the firms surveyed said their employees with only a high school degree lacked the skilled needed to perform their jobs.
The percentage of businesses holding a negative view of Maryland's business climate dropped from 19 percent in the first quarter to 15 percent in the second quarter.
The survey is a quarterly poll of state businesses conducted by the MBRP. For more information call Matthew Kachura at 410/837-6651.

Free haircuts

Hair Cuttery plans to donate up to 40,000 haircuts nationwide to underprivileged children from Aug. 1 through Aug. 15.
For every paid child's haircut, Hair Cuttery will donate one haircut to a disadvantaged child from the area's local social service agencies.
All salons in every market will participate. Hair Cuttery hopes to donate more than 5,000 cuts in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Huge Hardware

Ace Hardware Corp. said it plans to build a $38.5 million distribution center that will employ about 325 people in Prince George County, Va.
The 778,000-square-foot facility will be the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company's 19th retail support center in North America.
The site near Interstate 295 and U.S. Route 460 will allow the company to better serve its retailers in the Mid-Atlantic region, company President David Hodnik said.
Construction is scheduled to begin within the month and deliveries are set to begin by fall 2001. The warehouse will be large enough to fit 16 football fields and will house an estimated $40 million in inventory.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III approved a $300,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist with site preparation.
From staff and wire reports

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