Maryland adds 2,400 jobs in September as unemployment falls

Maryland added 2,400 jobs in September as the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.8 percent, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.

The state’s jobless rate remained below the national average of 4.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. Maryland was one of 11 states where the jobless rate fell, the labor department said.

The share of unemployed in the state is at its lowest point since the early months of the Great Recession.

September was the sixth month this year in which Maryland posted gains in the number of jobs from one month to the next,

“If you look over the past year, job growth in the state of Maryland has been exceptionally strong,” especially so in more recent months, said Andy Bauer, a senior regional economist in the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The state’s unemployment rate has been decreasing for five straight months.

Sometimes the unemployment rate drops because job seekers become discouraged and drop out of the labor market, causing the share of the unemployed to drop, Bauer said. But that has not been the case in Maryland, he said.

Maryland’s labor force rose by more than 10,000 people in September, according to the labor department’s so-called “household survey,” and the number of unemployed decreased by 4,000 people.

That means, “people are coming into the labor force and they will find jobs,” Bauer said.

That has been the trend over the past year, when the numbers in the labor force increased by 2.4 percent and the number of unemployed fell by more than 8 percent, he said.

The state has added 130,000 jobs since January 2015, including 64,100 since last September on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 2.4 percent year-over-year gain. That rate of job growth is double the national rate of growth, Bauer said.

“September’s job gains are a testament to Maryland’s growth and the diversity of our employment opportunities,” said Kelly M. Schulz, state labor secretary, in a statement.

Of the jobs that Maryland added from August to September, 1,800 came in the private sector. The financial activities sector saw the biggest jump, adding 1,700 jobs, including 900 in finance and insurance and 800 in real estate and rental and leasing.

The education and health services sector added 1,000 jobs, while the leisure and hospitality sector added 800. Professional and business services and information sectors experienced growth as well.

The state lost jobs in construction, manufacturing, and trade, transportation and utilities sectors.

The labor department had reported a preliminary gain of 14,200 job in Maryland in August and revised that upward on Friday to a gain of 14,400 jobs.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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