Maryland added 13,300 jobs in June and the unemployment rate dipped slightly, as people joining the workforce quickly found jobs, according to the latest federal employment report.
Maryland had an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in June, down a tenth of a percentage point from May and below the national average of 4.4 percent, according to new estimates released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“On the whole, this is a pretty solid report, after a couple months of somewhat weaker reports,” said Sonya Ravindranath Waddell, a regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va.
The state lost close to 8,000 jobs in March, gained some back in April, then lost 1,500 jobs in May.
Month-to-month job numbers tend to be volatile, said Richard Clinch, executive director of the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore.
Still, other factors, such as uncertainty about federal budget decisions, could also be influencing employers in Maryland, he said.
“One plausible explanation is with all the uncertainty in Washington, businesses don’t know what the hell to do,” Clinch said. “Maybe they overreacted last month and things aren’t as bad as they thought.”
Strong growth in professional and business services and government jobs bumped the state’s year-over-year employment growth to 2.1 percent, above the national 1.6 percent growth in employment, said Ravindranath Waddell.
The public sector added 3,900 jobs in June, according to the preliminary data. Gains in state and local government buoyed a small jobs loss within the federal government workforce.
Adding 6,100 jobs, the state’s professional and business services sector led job growth within the private sector.
A majority of those jobs — 4,700 — were in the administration, support and waste management subsector. Temporary-help agencies are one of the largest components of that subsector, and growth among temp jobs is often a sign of a strengthening workforce, Clinch said.
Temp jobs are often filled by people who are returning to the workforce after being unemployed as a transition to full-time employment, he said.
On the other hand, more temporary workers could signal ongoing uncertainty among employers.
“If employers feel recovery is going to take hold,” Clinch said, “they just hire their own workers.”
Maryland also gained private-sector jobs in education and health services, financial activities and construction.
The state lost jobs in manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; and leisure and hospitality.
Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz attributed job growth in the private sector in part to the state’s emphasis on expanding training programs.
"At the Maryland Department of Labor, we are focused on expanding our employment and training resources to create more opportunities as we are changing Maryland for the better," Schulz said in a statement.