The reality of faltering economic conditions continued to
negatively impact upon the status of Maryland jobseekers during
October. Maryland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, while
remaining well below that of 6.5 percent reported nationally,
continued to trend upward, rising by 0.4 percentage points to 5.0
percent in October – its highest level on record in more than a decade.
During October, employment among Maryland residents declined
by an estimated 12,760 persons, marking the fifth consecutive month
of dwindling employment. Declines
over the past two months have put employment below its year ago
levels. In October, there were nearly 26,770 fewer Marylanders
employed than a year ago when the unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent.
Maryland’s business payrolls also showed signs of slippage in October, with job
reductions in construction, manufacturing and several
service-producing industries contributing to an overall decline of
1,600 jobs. Retail trade’s downswing, while not necessarily
atypical, outstripped that of all other industries. The closing of
multiple locations of Boscov’s in October contributed to a larger
than anticipated reduction in this sector’s business activity. On
the up side, the leisure and hospitality industry was the focal
point of hiring activity over-the-month.
Despite the decline in October’s business activity,
Maryland’s industry payrolls have added about 23,000 jobs since
last October – a movement countering that of the nation which
shows a decline of nearly 1.1 million jobs over the past year.
Normally job market conditions tend to be relatively vibrant during October.
Early holiday hiring generally begins, helping to minimize the
movement of local unemployment rates. This year, however, employers
are reluctant to hire due to declining conditions in the job market.
As a result, local unemployment rates across the state trended
upward during October. In Worcester, a county where seasonal
economics contributes to rising unemployment this time of year,
unemployment shot up by nearly 3.0 full percentage points – an
increase much larger than the norm. Sizeable upturns were also reported in Wicomico, Cecil and
Washington counties as well as in Baltimore City.
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