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DLLR's Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning

 

Labor Force and Industry Developments - Maryland Monthly Labor Review - March 2010

 

While Maryland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.7 percent in March, movements in other economic indicators suggest that the statewide economy may be starting to mend. During March, the number of employed residents rose for the first time in two full years, industry payrolls advanced for the first time since July 2008 and the third consecutive monthly decline in initial unemployment claims reduced filings by 3.3 percent over the year.

 
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates - Maryland 
            and US - March 2009 through March 2010
 
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates
Maryland and US
March 2009 through March 2010
  
  MD US
Mar 09 6.7% 8.6%
Apr 6.9% 8.9%
May 7.0% 9.4%
June 7.1% 9.5%
July 7.2% 9.4%
Aug 7.2% 9.7%
Sept 7.3% 9.8%
Oct 7.3% 10.1%
Nov 7.3% 10.0%
Dec 7.4% 10.0%
Jan 10 7.5% 9.7%
Feb 7.7% 9.7%
Mar 7.7% 9.7%
 

During March, estimates based on Maryland’s survey of business establishments showed a seasonally adjusted gain of nearly 36,000 jobs on industry payrolls. A portion of this increase may well be attributable to work returns from weather-related slowdowns during February, however, the increase is substantially above the average monthly gain of about 2,000 jobs over the past ten years, suggesting that a considerable amount of “real” growth did, in fact, occur. The fact that gains were reported in every major job sector further underscores the positive movement in the jobs report. Some of the largest subsector gains were reported in administrative and support services, construction and retail trade. Growth in these industries, when combined, accounted for just over 42 percent of the monthly job generation.

While the favorable signs in Maryland’s job market during March are encouraging, we must remain cautiously optimistic. Although the pace of layoff activity has moderated, the planned shutdown of BP Solar’s manufacturing operation in Frederick County illustrates that sporadic economic fallout may continue to temper the job market.

Indicators need to be monitored closely in the months ahead to see if a consistent pattern of improvement occurs in order to determine the path and pace of recovery. Economic restoration will be arduous and, in all likelihood, job generation during the recovery will remain slow and unemployment, generally viewed as a lagging indicator, may rise even higher until the current gap between supply and demand is more closely aligned.

At the local level, signs of improving economic conditions, coupled with the potential for seasonal hiring, encouraged an influx of jobseekers into the labor market during March. According to the monthly business survey, non-seasonally adjusted job counts were higher in each of the state regions.

Residential employment advanced in every local jurisdiction, helping to ease unadjusted unemployment rates down across the state. Declines of a full percentage or more were reported in a number of jurisdictions, including Allegany, Wicomico, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent and Worcester counties.

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