Baltimore, MD (January 25, 2012) – Despite the fourth consecutive year of falling construction spending and employment figures, Maryland ranked eighth nationally for overall construction value in the commercial office sector, with more than $3.2 billion invested, according to a report recently released by the NAIOP Research Foundation. This activity supported nearly 23,000 employees with cumulative personal earnings of $975 million. On a national level, more than $231 billion of construction occurred, with an employment base of more than 1.76 million workers.

The study, as described in “The Contribution of Office, Industrial and Retail Development and Construction to the U.S. Economy,” was prepared by Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University and funded by the NAIOP Foundation. It is designed to illustrate the positive financial impact and effect of the construction and commercial real estate industries from a local and national perspective.

“Commercial real estate activity and construction spending remain among the most significant drivers of our economy and we envision improving conditions in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. marketplace,” explained Dianna Wilhelm, President of NAIOP Maryland, the local chapter of NAIOP. “The Maryland area was extremely fortunate to have the Base Realignment and Closure initiatives provide some areas of strength and help backfill what was otherwise a weak economy. Construction industry employment levels remain at less than half from previous years, although the emerging cyber-security industry could be our next stimulator of commercial office space demand,” she added.

The NAIOP Report illustrates the impact and importance of development and construction spending on the overall health of the national economy, with the recent downward spending and investment trend creating a widespread economic strain. “A healthy real estate economy is vital to a prosperous U.S. economy and conditions will remain muted until commercial and residential construction and development return to normal levels,” stated Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP President and CEO.

“New office construction levels have remained below the pace of previous years to allow for positive absorption to occur, although several sub-markets in Anne Arundel and Harford Counties continue to experience activity based on existing demand. Our region always performs at a higher level compared with the rest of the country, and we optimistically predict an uptick in the coming year. This will translate to tangible benefits in the creation of new jobs, generation of personal earnings and the promotion of new spending activity across all sectors of the local economy,” she added.

NAIOP Maryland has more than 340 members and is comprised of individuals working for real estate development companies, brokerage firms and affiliated companies such as financial institutions, architectural firms and engineers.

NAIOP is the nation’s leading trade association for developers, owners, investors and other professionals in industrial, office and mixed-use commercial real estate. Comprising 16,000 members in 55 chapters, it provides networking opportunities, educational programs, research on trends and innovations and strong legislative representation.