Maryland unemployment rate holds steady in May at 4.3 percent

Maryland’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in May, unchanged from the previous two months and a bit higher than the national rate of 3.8 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The state added 4,600 jobs in the month, with about half in state and local government and the other half in the private sector.

Andy Bauer, a senior regional economist at the Baltimore branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, called it a “solid report” for Maryland.

“We saw some positive signs, even with the unemployment numbers remaining unchanged at 4.3 percent for the last couple of months,” he said. “Unemployment edged down but not enough to move the needle.”

He said hiring in the Baltimore region matched the federal level, but the rates were lower on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland, as well as in the Washington suburbs, which may be a reflection of positions tied to federal contracting.

If businesses are able to find enough workers, then he expected the jobs numbers to continue to climb for the rest of the year.

The state Department of Labor noted that jobs are up 12,700 from a year ago, an increase of .5 percent. The biggest gains in the May report were in the leisure and hospitality sector, followed by professional and business services, construction and manufacturing.

"Maryland’s economy is strong and our businesses are growing," said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz in a statement. "Our goal is full employment in every industry in the state. We encourage anyone — be it a business owner, worker, or a job seeker — to take advantage of our many workforce development services.

“Learn something new, gain a credential, build your talent pool,” Schulz said.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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