The unemployment rate in Maryland ticked up to 3.8% in March from 3.7% the previous two months, but is still below the 4.1% the state posted a year ago.
The state rate was the same as the national rate of 3.8% for March, which was unchanged from the previous month and little changed from a year ago, according to the latest report from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Maryland added 3,100 jobs from February to March, mostly in the private sector, and 15,600 in the past year.
Andy Bauer, a senior regional economist at the Baltimore branch of the Richmond Federal Reserve bank, called that “modest” and said hiring in the state has been somewhat subdued recently.
“Today’s report was on the positive side; definitely moving in the right direction,” he said. “But it’s been the case for a while where job growth has been more challenging.”
The state lost leisure and hospitality jobs in March. Construction, trade, transportation and utilities jobs were also down slightly.
Manufacturing jobs, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services jobs were up for the month.
Still, Bauer said he expected the picture to improve somewhat this year and wasn’t so sure others’ predictions of larger slowdown or even recession next year were on track. He said more people were entering the labor force and most were finding jobs.
State labor officials noted the jobless rate is in its longest stretch of unemployment below 4% since 2008.
"In today’s competitive market, employers can benefit from new and innovative ways to develop their workforce," said James E. Rzepkowski, acting state labor secretary. "Maryland’s training, education, and employment resources help our businesses overcome employee skills gaps and fill their talent pipelines. We encourage employers to contact the Maryland Department of Labor when considering ways to grow and ‘up-skill’ their workforce."