Unemployment Drops in Oct., Indicating Slow Growth for Maryland's Economy


WASHINGTON (November 24, 2010)—The number of unemployed in Maryland decreased by 1,500 in October bringing the unemployment rate to 7.4 percent, the first decrease since June.

Maryland added 5,900 jobs last month, and has added 28,400 since October 2009. This is the sixth-largest increase of any state.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised earlier estimates of Maryland's September unemployment numbers to show that about 800 fewer people were unemployed in that month, which changed the unemployment rate from 7.5 percent to 7.4 percent for September.

All of these numbers are seasonally adjusted.

November saw the 1,000th unemployed person hired using Maryland's job creation and recovery tax credit, according to a news release from the governor's office. The tax credit expires in December.

"These are moms and dads with families to feed that are now beginning to get back on their feet as Maryland emerges from this national recession stronger and more quickly than other states," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a news release about the jobs tax credit.

These are all positive indicators for the state of Maryland's economy.

"I think this is the most positive I've seen (the numbers)," said Alexander Sanchez, secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, touting private sector job gains.

But the progress is very slow, especially for Marylanders still looking for work.

"The number of unemployed went down a little bit, the number of employed went up a little bit and overall the labor force went up a little bit. Those are all certainly movements in the right direction," said Neil Bergsman, director of the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute. But, he added, "the amount of movement is so tiny compared with the more than 100,000 individuals that the ranks of the unemployed have grown by since the beginning of the recession, I'm not sure we should say this is very different from a movement sideways."

The greatest growth during the last 12 months has come in the leisure and hospitality industry at a rate of 3.7 percent, compared to 1.1 percent in Maryland as a whole. This is still above the national growth rate of .6 percent.

The manufacturing sector saw the biggest job losses during the last year, 4.3 percent, but did gain 400 jobs last month.

"This is the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year job gains," Sanchez said. "We're increasing at two to three times the national average. It's a great thing for Maryland."

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