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Maryland unemployment rate stays steady in October

Maryland lost 5,500 jobs in October though the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.

The jobless rate remained below the national average of 4.1 percent, which ticked down from 4.2 percent in September as the employment picture improved in 12 states.

A “longer lens” shows that the Maryland economy has been performing well, said Andy Bauer, a senior regional economist in the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The state joins 26 others in adding a statistically significant number of jobs in the past year. The state has gained 54,400 jobs, up 2 percent year-over-year, far off-setting the one-month loss.

“To me it does not signal any change in the underlying unemployment market in Maryland,” Bauer said. “You see 2 percent growth in Maryland year over year and that’s considerably more than you’re seeing at the national level.”

He said the gains and losses were inconsistent among sectors, but there were likely to be more additions than cuts going forward, particularly in the areas of IT, cyber-secruity and health, provided there are employees to fill the jobs. It was too soon to tell, however, what impact ongoing budget and tax negotiations in Washington would have in the state.

Among the sectors gaining jobs, education and health services added the most with 1,500 positions. Also, 500 jobs were added in construction and 200 were added in manufacturing. About 900 government jobs were added.

The biggest job losses were in the trade, transportation and utilities sector (3,200), followed by professional and business services (2,500); financial services (500); and leisure and hospitality (1,400).

The state has added 125,500 jobs since January 2015 and the unemployment rate is at a nine-year low, noted Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland labor secretary.

"The Hogan administration is committed to strengthening Maryland’s economy," she said. "The Department of Labor is fulfilling that commitment through innovative workforce solutions, like the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program.”

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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