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Report: 6K new jobs downtown

Downtown Baltimore gained 6,000 jobs last year as the economy steadied — the first job gain in three years, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.

The findings are part of the organization’s annual State of Downtown report. The data shows that downtown jobs in a one-mile radius grew 6 percent last year, to 113,437 from 106,678 in 2009. Nationally, Baltimore ranked sixth among the top 25 downtowns for employment growth in 2010, the report said.

The Downtown Partnership numbers were compiled by Nielsen Claritas SiteReports. They also showed a 10 percent gain in downtown jobs over the past five years in the one-mile radius, which includes Harbor East, part of Federal Hill, the central business district, the west side and part of Mount Vernon, as well as areas near M&T Bank Stadium.

The development of Harbor East since the 1990s has helped boost employment in downtown Baltimore, as well as increased competitiveness for companies that hire employees who want to be in a downtown area, Downtown Partnership spokesman Mike Evitts said.

“We’re hearing more and more from companies who tell us the reason they want to be here is that this is where employees want to be,” he said. “Employees need to be in a dynamic business environment.”

Numbers also showed professional services as the highest-growth sector in Baltimore, with 13.5 percent of all downtown jobs. Administrative positions comprise the most jobs in the area, at 37.4 percent, while executive and professional jobs are a close second at 33.5 percent.

The Downtown Partnership will soon release a strategic plan that will address challenges in downtown office space vacancies, Evitts said. The organization also plans to release an open space plan. The plan, supported by the Baltimore Department of Planning and the Baltimore Development Corp., will propose new uses for outdated buildings, new businesses incubators, prioritizing infrastructure improvements and creating a network of interconnected parks, plazas and green space.

The area in the report makes up 3.8 percent of Baltimore’s total area, but provides more than a quarter of all jobs in the city, according to the Downtown Partnership.