Maryland Employment Situation - November 2008


BALTIMORE, MD (December 19, 2008) Ė The mounting economic pressures which have skewed national market conditions over the past year have, in recent months, begun to impact Marylandís employment picture. Unemployment, which remained relatively unchanged during the first quarter of the year, has begun to consistently trend upward. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rose from 4.9 percent in October to 5.3 percent in November, reaching its highest level on record since the early months of 1994 according to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Last November, Marylandís unemployment rate stood at a modest 3.6 percent. All told, close to 158,000 Marylanders were unemployed during November, an increase of just over 9,450 persons over-the-month and nearly 50,450 above that of last November. The potential unemployment impact was, in fact, minimized somewhat during November by the exodus of about 5,300 jobseekers from the labor market.

Marylandís business payrolls shed additional jobs in November, with a reduction of 4,900 jobs spread across every private sector industry with the exception of educational and health services. While expansion in this business sector has slowed, job gains have continued almost uninterrupted throughout the year. Education and health services, along with professional and business services and leisure and hospitality, are the only private sector industries which have continued to report employment gains over the past year.

The slippage in Marylandís job market during November followed on the heels of national reports which showed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inching up from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent and business payrolls falling by more than 530,000 jobs. While statewide indicators are showing signs of stress, Marylandís job market remains in somewhat of a better place than that of the nation. Nationally, eleven consecutive months of declining employment, have caused significant erosion in the nationís industrial job base. A decline of 1.4% since last November has pared close to 2 million jobs from national payrolls. In Maryland, while job loss has been noted in select industries, the stateís total job base has continued to expand over the past year, with employers adding nearly 13,000 jobs to industry payrolls.

Jobseekers across the state were impacted by faltering market conditions. Locally, declining employment pushed unemployment rates higher in each jurisdiction with the exception of Cecil County where unemployment held steady over-the-month. Some of the most noteworthy increases, of a full percentage point or higher, were reported in Dorchester, Garrett and Worcester counties.