Whatever else, private and public sector organizations have kept generating big data through months of COVID and economic disruption that provide insights about local developments. We can use this data to monitor in near real time the MidShore experience in 2020 thanks to Opportunity Insights’ ECONOMIC TRACKER project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Brown University (https://tracktherecovery.org).
What’s changed since January and have the changes been different between the five Mid Shore counties? Consumer spending by the end of November had increased more than a third in Queen Anne’s, held steady in Talbot, and fallen substantially in Dorchester and by almost a third in Caroline. New Unemployment Assistance claims were, as a share of the labor force, several times as numerous in Dorchester than in Queen Anne’s and Talbot. The latter two counties fared better than Maryland as a whole while Kent and Caroline like Dorchester fared worse. As of December 10, new cases as a share of the population reached a high in all the MidShore counties except Kent. Yet here too Dorchester and Caroline were worse off than a less unfortunate Talbot and Queen Anne’s.
The sad fact is that the residents of the highest income counties on the MidShore have been hurt least and those of the lowest income counties suffered most.
Davis Bobrow and Jeffrey Miller