Maryland Employment Situation - December 2007


BALTIMORE, MD (January 24, 2008) – Maryland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed over-the-month, rising by just 0.1 of a percentage point, from 3.7 percent in November to 3.8 percent in December. In a ranking of unemployment rates across the nation, Maryland, along with Delaware, reported the 12th lowest jobless rate during December.

The upturn in Maryland’s unemployment rate, not an atypical occurrence during this time of year, was much less pronounced than that of the nation where the rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 5.0 percent.

Recent events in the financial and construction markets have continued to dampen overall economic performance, however, Maryland seems to be weathering the market churnings much more favorably than the nation. The number of jobs on Maryland’s business payrolls increased by 4,600 during December, resulting in a gain of 1.4 percent since December 2006 – an expansion rate more than three times that of 0.4 percent recorded nationally.

During December, eight out of ten of Maryland’s major business sectors reported higher job totals. The most noteworthy gains were in the education and heath services and professional and business services sectors. These two industry groups -- leaders in both monthly and annual expansion -- when combined, accounted for about 56% of the current monthly upturn.

Locally, monthly movements in unadjusted unemployment rates were mixed. Downsizing in weather-related industries, the wind down in retail trade and temporary holiday furloughs contributed to employment declines and labor force reductions in a number of jurisdictions. Unemployment rates in Worcester, Garrett and Allegany counties were the most visibly affected by these seasonal economics. Worcester County’s rate of 8.7 percent represented a statewide high in December. Balancing out the unemployment scale were rates as low as 2.4 percent in Howard County and 2.5 percent in Montgomery.