Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning


Labor Force and Industry Developments - Maryland Monthly Labor Review - April 2009


Maryland jobseekers experienced somewhat of a reprieve in April. After fourteen consecutive months of rising unemployment, the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched down slightly from March’s revised rate of 6.9 percent to a preliminary rate of 6.8 percent in April. The movement in Maryland’s rate countered that of the nation which showed unemployment rising by 0.4 percentage points over-the-month to reach 8.9 percent in April.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates - Maryland and US
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates
Maryland and US
April 2008 through April 2009
Apr 08 4.0% 5.0%
May 4.1% 5.5%
June 4.3% 5.6%
July 4.4% 5.8%
Aug 4.5% 6.2%
Sept 4.6% 6.2%
Oct 4.8% 6.6%
Nov 5.1% 6.8%
Dec 5.4% 7.2%
Jan 09 6.2% 7.6%
Feb 6.8% 8.1%
Mar 6.9% 8.5%
Apr 6.8% 8.9%

During April, the number of employed rose by just over 9,300 persons – an increase which helped to absorb an influx of jobseekers and to lower the number of unemployed by nearly 1,700 persons to a level of 201,222.  Unemployment, while declining, remains considerably above its April 2008 pre-recession level when just 4.0 percent of Maryland’s labor force, or 118,430 persons, were without a job.

Maryland’s business payrolls continued to shed jobs in April, however, the rate of decline appears to be moderating. Seasonally adjusted industry payrolls declined at a rate of 0.6 and 0.5 percent, respectively during February and March, with actual losses averaging about 13,500 jobs per month. During April, the rate of decline slowed to 0.2 percent. In absolute terms, this translated into a decline of 5,900 jobs. Job reductions among private sector employers fueled the downward movement in April’s industry payrolls. Construction was dealt the hardest blow, with declines among building contractors accounting for the largest portion of the industry’s monthly loss. The demand for services provided by administrative support firms remained soft, causing employers in this sector to continue to trim their payrolls. The health care industry took a surprising turn in April. Up to this point, the industry has been relatively recession proof; however, stories have begun to emerge that strapped consumers are cutting corners in terms of health care. Employers in the industry responded by downsizing in April. About 800 jobs fewer jobs were reported, with reductions at physicians’ offices and in hospitals contributing to the slide.

On a positive note, hiring for the upcoming decennial census and in stimulus-related jobs helped to bolster employment on both the federal and local government levels.

Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates declined in each of Maryland’s local jurisdictions during April. Some of the largest declines, of a full percentage point or better, occurred in Allegany, Caroline, Garrett, Talbot and Worcester counties. Unemployment rates in Montgomery and Howard counties, at 4.7 and 4.8 percent, respectively were the lowest among the jurisdictions while Worcester’s rate, despite a hefty decline, remained the highest at 11.7 percent. While, in most jurisdictions, rising employment helped to lower unemployment, a number of jurisdictions reported a decline in the number of jobseekers participating in the labor market.

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