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Living at the beach may seem like a great idea when it’s July, and the days are filled with lounging on the sand with family and friends. But when its January, and jobs are scarce, living near the shore may not be as pleasant as one might think. Coastal reporter Bryan Russo talks to Metro Connection’s Rebecca Sheir about life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the winter months. Following are highlights of their conversation.
Russo on the atmosphere in Ocean City in December: “It’s not exactly a ghost town, but it’s pretty quiet. You can drive for probably a dozen blocks in Ocean City without seeing a store or a restaurant that’s open. And even some of the most prominent businesses, such as the entertainment complex Seacrets, are closed several days a week.”
On the jobs situation: “A lot of people here work six or seven days a week during the summer, and then spend the winter months on unemployment, searching for work… If you look at the latest census figures, the median income in the counties on the coast is somewhere between $47,000 and $50,000 a year. But what those figures don’t tell you is how much people in certain parts of the economy are affected by both the national economic downturn and the seasonal slowdown here.
On industries that are doing well on the coast: “There are some industries that are doing well. Healthcare is really booming because of the growing number of people retiring on the coast. And there’s a lot of talk about alternative energy being a source of jobs here in the future… When you get right down to it, the beach is always going to be one of our most important assets. Memo Diriker, with the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University, says tourism provides a lot more jobs than people realize.”
[Music: "Sea of Love" by Tom Waits from Brawlers / "Vivaldi - Winter, r. 297, Concerto in F Minor" by The Baronics from Get Bach!]