Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning


Labor Force and Industry Developments - Maryland Monthly Labor Review - May 2008


The number of Marylanders entering the job market continued to grow in May, an expansion that translated in rising unemployment over the month. Marylandís seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which remained relatively stable through the first four months of the year, rose from 3.6 percent in April to 4.0 percent in May according to estimates released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The upturn in Marylandís unemployment rate followed the national movement which showed unemployment rising by 0.5 percentage points to 5.5 percent in May.

Marylandís economy has not been immune to the financial stresses caused by the credit crisis and rising energy and food costs. The statewide job market has, however, fared somewhat better than that of the nation. According to a statement recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor, nationally, businesses have shed more than 300,000 jobs thus far in 2008, with a reduction of 49,000 jobs reported in May. In Maryland, employers, while proceeding cautiously, have added about 6,500 jobs since January, with Mayís business survey showing a gain of 1,100 jobs. Growth, however, has been uneven. Economic uncertainty has continued to diminish activity in the construction, manufacturing and finance sectors, industries which shed a combined total of 1,500 jobs in May. Expansion elsewhere on Marylandís private sector payrolls minimized the impact of these declines, with gains in health services leading the positive movement.

The slowing in the job market meant that there were fewer jobs available for incoming seasonal and temporary workers in a number of Marylandís local jurisdictions. During May, non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were higher in twenty of the stateís twenty-four local jurisdictions. Baltimore Cityís rate, rising by 0.8 percentage points over-the-month, was the statewide high in May at 6.0 percent.  Worcester Countyís rate was the most noticeably improved, declining from 7.0 percent to 5.3 percent Ė a decline resulting from the hiring of seasonal workers to fill job openings in tourism-related industries.

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