Maryland Unemployment Rate Drops to Lowest Point Since May 2009


State unemployment rate nearly two full percentage points below national average

BALTIMORE, MD (March 10, 2011) – The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) announced the first improvement in the state’s unemployment rate since May 2010 and the lowest unemployment rate since May 2009. Unemployment in Maryland declined 0.2 percentage points from 7.4 percent in December 2010 to a preliminary 7.2 percent in January 2011, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor. The state’s unemployment rate has improved or held steady every month since February 2010.

“The O’Malley-Brown Administration has laid the groundwork for economic recovery and remains in a position to pull out of this national recession more quickly than other states. For the seventh consecutive month, jobs totals in Maryland have been higher than those reported one year prior,” said DLLR Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “Maryland’s unemployment rate remains nearly two full percentage points below the national average and is lower than it has been in 20 months.”

Preliminary data shows that seasonally-adjusted jobs on Maryland’s business payrolls decreased in January 2011 by 7,100 compared to revised December 2010 data. Private sector employers absorbed approximately 75 percent of the monthly decline. Despite the job market decline, the number of employed Marylanders rose by approximately 1,040 between December 2010 and January 2011.

Several sectors posted increases in January 2011 compared to December 2010, including:

  • Federal government employment (600 jobs);
  • Health care and social assistance (2,000 jobs);
  • Professional and business services (500 jobs); and
  • Retail and Wholesale Trade (2,400 jobs).

January 2011 is the seventh consecutive month of year-to-year job growth. The current job level is 4,600 above the January 2010 data and private sector employment is up 4,400. By comparison, the January 2010 job level was nearly 53,000 below January 2009, and January 2009 was 63,000 below January 2008.

Every March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also releases its annual revision of national benchmark estimates of nonfarm employment, hours and earnings based on unemployment insurance tax reports filed by employers. Based on these revisions, national job growth benchmarked in March 2010 was revised downward by -0.3 percent. Based on the BLS benchmark revisions, Maryland’s job growth comparison from December 2009 to December 2010 was revised to 11,300 jobs.

Employment Situation