Maryland Employment Situation - March 2010


(BALTIMORE, 4/16/10) -- Alexander M. Sanchez, Secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing Regulation, announced today that the number of employed Marylanders increased in March for the first time in just over two years while payrolls in the state rose for the first time since July 2008, underscoring some of the most positive movements in the State's jobs picture since the economic downturn began.

"While some of the increase in payrolls can be attributed to a reversal of the weather-related slowdowns we saw during February, the number of new jobs and the fact they were reported in every major employment sector suggests that real job growth did occur," Secretary Sanchez said.

"The O'Malley-Brown Administration has looked to spur private sector job growth through such initiatives as the Job Creation & Recovery Tax Credit and expanded access to credit for small business, and will continue to place the highest priority on sustaining the economic recovery."

Estimates based on Maryland's survey of business establishments showed a seasonally adjusted gain of approximately 35,800 jobs on industry payrolls during March. This increase is substantially above the average monthly gain of about 2,000 jobs over the past 10 years. Based on current data and a review of historical data, it appears that perhaps one-third of March's gains can be attributed to reversals of reductions related to severe weather in February.

March's job gains were spread across every major industry sector. Four out of every 10 jobs created resulted from hiring and recalls in three industries - administrative support services (+5,300 jobs), construction (+5,200) and retail trade (+4,700).

Maryland's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.7 percent in March, remaining two full percentage points below the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent reported for March, as increased employment absorbed an influx of job-seekers.

The growth in the labor force can be attributed largely to the fact that many people who had stopped looking for work - and who therefore were no longer counted as unemployed - have re-entered the job market. While this is a sign that Marylanders are becoming more optimistic about the economy, it has the effect of keeping under a floor under the published unemployment rate.

Underscoring the improvement in the job market, initial claims for Maryland unemployment benefits declined in March to the lowest level since September 2009.

Secretary Sanchez cautioned that unemployment is a lagging indicator of economic recovery and that job data must be monitored over several more months to see if a consistent pattern of improvement emerges. Although the pace of layoff activity has moderated, the recent shutdown of BP Solar's manufacturing operation in Frederick County illustrates that sporadic economic fallout may continue to temper the job market.

County unemployment numbers will be available at the Career and Workforce Information web page beginning Friday, April 23. Unemployed Marylanders are encouraged to visit our website to find their local One-Stop Career Center.

Maryland Employment Situation