Employment Situation - March 2008


BALTIMORE, MD (April 23, 2008) – Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Thomas E. Perez today announced Maryland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up slightly in March, from a revised rate of 3.4 percent in February to 3.6 percent. The rate was little changed from the 3.5 percent reported in March 2007. “The housing crisis and rising gas prices are fueling difficult economic conditions nationwide, and clearly Maryland has seen the impact of the downturn,” Secretary Perez said. “However, we remain cautiously optimistic that the diversity of Maryland’s economy and the activity generated by BRAC will help to maintain Maryland’s job market.”

Despite a slowdown in job growth, Maryland’s unemployment rate was the 10th lowest nationwide and remained well below that of the national rate, which climbed from 4.8 percent in February to 5.1 percent in March.

The number of Maryland-based jobs grew by 3,600 in March, though performance among the industries was mixed. A number of temporary furloughs lowered manufacturing employment, and the construction industry, which has been on the economic watch list because of its close relationship with the finance sector, also experienced a decline. However, rising payroll reports in the wholesale trade, professional and business services, education and health services, and accommodation and food services industries more than compensated for these declines.

Locally, the early onset of seasonal hiring helped to lower or maintain unemployment rates in all but Baltimore County, where an influx of jobseekers caused unemployment to advance slightly. Unemployment in Worcester County was the most noticeably improved, dropping by nearly a full percentage point. Howard, Calvert and Montgomery counties reported unemployment lows in March, with rates in each jurisdiction below 3.0 percent.