Maryland jobless rate edges up to 7.5 percent in January

Maryland's unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in January as job cuts continued unabated, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

The jobless rate, which was 7.4 percent in December, hasn't been this high since the spring of 1983. Employers cut 2,500 jobs in January, the 18th straight month of losses.

The government estimates, based off survey data, are adjusted to try to account for normal seasonal variations in hiring and layoffs.

One glimmer of hope is that the number of Marylanders working or looking for work rose slightly in January, the first increase in months and a possible sign that more people think it's worth looking for a job now. When job seekers give up because they doubt they'll have any luck, they're no longer counted in the labor force -- a bad signal for an economy. So a growing labor force is good news, though one month can't be called a trend.