Maryland's Unemployment Rate Drops Below Seven Percent for First Time Since March 2009


15,000 more Marylanders employed since start of 2011

BALTIMORE, MD (April 19, 2011) - Maryland's unemployment rate improved in March 2011 for the third consecutive month to 6.9 percent - dropping below 7 percent for the first time in two years. The unemployment rate has improved 0.5 percentage points since the end of 2010.

“Maryland’s economy continues to grow as our state pulls out of this national recession. Thousands of Marylanders have entered the workforce since the start of the year and we recorded the largest monthly employment gain last month since the final month of President Clinton’s term,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “While we’re pleased to announce that the state’s unemployment rate dropped below 7 percent for the first time in two years, we must continue our efforts to build a talented workforce pipeline that will help us win the future and compete in the new economy.”

"While we still have a great deal of work ahead, the March employment report clearly shows that Maryland is moving consistently down the path toward recovery," Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez said. "The state's unemployment rate has improved every month since the beginning of the year, and nearly 15,000 additional Marylanders are working today who were not when the year began."

Including March 2011, Maryland's unemployment rate has improved or held steady 14 months in a row. The rate is currently 0.7 percentage points lower than it was a year ago. According to data made available today by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 16,800 additional Marylanders are working today compared to data from March 2010, and nearly 19,000 fewer Marylanders are unemployed. Since the beginning of 2011, nearly 15,000 additional Marylanders have started working and 8,100 fewer are unemployed.

While more Marylanders are working today than a year ago, Maryland lost 5,900 payroll jobs in March 2011, compared to February 2011. The largest declines were realized in local government, retail, administrative and support services, construction and transportation. Higher gas prices and unseasonable weather likely played a determining role in over-the-month declines.

Despite moderate monthly jobs losses, March 2011 offered several signs that the State is well-positioned for future job growth. The state added 1,300 jobs in accommodations and food services, 900 in professional, scientific and technological services, 800 in the information sector, 500 in wholesale trade and 300 in manufacturing. March 2011 was also the 9th consecutive month of year-over-year job growth.

Private sector announcements also provide optimistic signals for job growth in the months ahead. The sale of Sparrows Point early in the month is already prompting the rehiring of employees displaced last year. Walmart recently opened a new superstore in Fallston and Price Rite Supermarket opened in the Woodlawn area, creating more than 120 new jobs. Wegmans recently announced that it will begin hiring as many as 600 employees before opening a new store in Harford County and Kohls will open a distribution center in Harford County that will create 200 new jobs.

DLLR is the state's leading agency for workforce development and skills training. Yesterday, DLLR relaunched the Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) as a more dynamic, virtual One Stop Employment Center. The newly-revamped MWE portal connects agencies, programs and services electronically to assist and connect employers and jobseekers. The system provides integrated services via the Internet for individuals, employers, training providers, workforce staff and one-stop partners and dramatically improves customer satisfaction, staff efficiency and overall performance.

Employment Situation