The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused Prince George’s County to lose 48,000 jobs in four months.
County officials proclaimed Tuesday at least 90% of those jobs have recovered.
A few hundred business owners, executives and other officials applauded that figure at County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ annual State of the Economy address, held in person for the first time since 2019.
“We will recover 100% of the jobs by the end of this calendar year,” Alsobrooks said at MGM National Harbor casino resort. “Our county is healthy and growing.”
Alsobrooks outlined how the county’s economic future will blossom with a new cancer center opening in 2024 on the campus of the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center, which opened last year in Largo.
Hospital and elected officials participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month to open a $7.6 million behavioral health unit at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton.
Alsobrooks announced a major grocer will move into the county: Trader Joe’s. The company posted on its website that it will be coming soon to College Park.
One of the county’s biggest economic projects will be along Metro’s Blue Line Metrorail corridor.
Thanks to legislation approved this year by state lawmakers, the Maryland Stadium Authority will authorize $400 million to issue bonds to refurbish, construct and open sports and entertainment facilities in the county, specifically within communities along Metro’s four Blue Line stations that include Largo, Morgan Boulevard, Addison Road-Seat Pleasant and Capitol Heights.
The plans include a sports fieldhouse, a plaza, market hall and residences.
“Those projects don’t depend on the Washington Commanders,” Alsobrooks said about the NFL football team, whose home stadium in Landover is located near the Morgan Boulevard Metro station. “Let me be very clear, we believe that they belong here, but we’re working on planning a new cultural center, a library” and other amenities for the community.
Alsobrooks highlighted businesses such as IonQ of College Park, which develops quantum computing devices and reported a 300% spike in revenue in one year. The company announced in September a partnership with the University of Maryland to create the nation’s first quantum lap.
Before the pandemic, Donald Thompson managed 12 employees at his café inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture building in Riverdale Park. He now runs it by himself, but it would’ve remained closed without the help of county support.
“With more people coming back into the federal building, we’re excited to bring at least two [employees] back in the next two weeks,” said Thompson, who’s owned Don’s Café since 2015. “Hopefully things will pick up and I can bring my entire staff back.”
Thompson said he is particularly proud of his hiring blind and visually impaired workers through the state’s Business Enterprise Programs for the Blind.
“I love that program. It’s the best thing going,” he said. “I love hiring people with disabilities because you are giving back. I don’t mind hiring anybody if that person is willing to come to work and perform great customer service.”
Another small business owner, Tiffany Kelly, opened “House of Ketubah Bridal” in Mount Rainier in October.
Kelly manages the business by herself “as a one-woman show” but that will soon change with the help of an intern from Employ Prince George’s who will work about 12 weeks and assist with marketing the business that will include social media content.
“What I love about Prince George’s County is [our officials] are really resourceful and really helping businesses,” said Kelly, who owned a similar store in her native St. Louis before moving to Prince George’s about three years ago. “I chose Mount Rainier be-cause it gave me an old-time and artsy feel. We feel right at home in Mount Rainier.”