BALTIMORE, MD (May 22, 2009) – Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary
Thomas E. Perez announced today that after 14 consecutive months of rising
unemployment, the State’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched down
slightly in April to 6.8 percent from March’s revised rate of 6.9 percent.
The national rate increased by four tenths of a percent to 8.9 percent in April.
During April, the number of employed rose by just over 9,300 persons, while
the number of unemployed dropped by nearly 1,700 persons to 201,222. Unemployment,
while declining, remains considerably above its April 2008 pre-recession level of 4 percent.
“The relative strength of Maryland’s economy was on display in April, as
unemployment here dipped while increasing elsewhere in the nation. However, while
we hope the decline will continue, the small decrease over a single month does not
necessarily indicate an end to the recession. Many Marylanders are still out of
work and need assistance,” Secretary Perez said.
Maryland’s business payrolls continued to shed jobs in April, but the rate of
decline appears to be moderating. While seasonally adjusted industry payrolls
declined by 0.6 percent in February and 0.5 percent in March, the rate of decline
slowed to 0.2 percent in April. This translated into a decline of 5,900 jobs.
Job reductions among private sector employers fueled the downward movement in
April’s industry payrolls. Construction was dealt the hardest blow, with declines
among building contractors accounting for the largest portion of the industry’s
monthly loss. The demand for services provided by administrative support firms
remained soft, causing employers in this sector to continue to trim payrolls. The
health care industry took a surprising turn in April. Up to this point, the
industry has been relatively recession proof; however, about 800 jobs fewer
health care jobs were reported in April, with reductions at physicians’ offices
and in hospitals contributing to the slide.
To counter the decline in industry payroll numbers, hiring for the upcoming
decennial census and in stimulus-related jobs helped to bolster employment on
both the federal and local government levels.