Maryland's unemployment rate remains unchanged at 4.3 percent

Maryland ‘s unemployment rate held steady at 4.3 percent in June despite the state losing about 5,500, mostly government jobs, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistic.

The rate in Maryland has been unchanged for months, and remains slightly above June’s national unemployment rate of 4 percent, which ticked up from 3.8 percent in May.

Andy Bauer, a senior regional economist at the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said there isn’t a whole lot of momentum in the economy right now, but his outlook for the rest of the year remained positive.

Government jobs can wane in the summer, but businesses he’s surveyed say they still expect to hire more people over the next few months if they can find qualified candidates — which has been a hurdle.

“One month of decline in employment doesn’t concern me,” he said. “My outlook hasn’t changed… We conduct these regular surveys and we’ve not seen anything in the surveys, no change in attitude by businesses.”

In addition to losses in the government section, Maryland also lost small numbers of jobs in such sectors as manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; and leisure and hospitality. The state gained jobs in construction and professional and business services.

Bauer noted in the past year that Maryland’s unemployment rate has ticket up two-tenths of a percentage point, but that’s largely because more people entered the labor market and not all found jobs.

State labor officials looked back somewhat further, to 2015, and said that the number of jobs in Maryland has increased by almost 90,000. The number employed in the state in non-farm jobs totals more than 2.7 million.

"We are confident in Maryland’s economy, and in the strength of our workforce," said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, in a statement. "As a provider of innovative, nationally recognized workforce development and training programs, the Department of Labor stands ready to assist workers looking to start or grow in their job, and employers who want to develop and retain their talent."

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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