Maryland’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.3 percent in April as the state lost 4,300 jobs, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.
The state’s jobless rate had ticked up to 4.3 percent in March, from 4.2 percent. Unemployment in the U.S. was 3.9 percent last month.
Maryland’s unemployment rate may be higher than that of the U.S. because the state is seeing more people looking for work and they may not be finding jobs quickly, said Richard Kaglic, a senior regional economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Companies looking to hire are sometimes struggling to find qualified empolyees, he said.
Still, Maryland saw a broad-based job decline in April, Kaglic said.
Losses occurred in government; manufacturing; education and health services; financial activities; professional and business services; mining, logging and construction; and leisure and hospitality, according to the preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The biggest drops came in government, which lost 2,300 jobs, followed by manufacturing, with a loss of 1,000 jobs.
Maryland also lost 600 jobs in the professional and business services sector, in contrast to national numbers that showed jobs added in that category in April.
“Growth in professional and business services, important in the state of Maryland and acoss the country, was weak in April, but also has been pretty weak of late,” Kaglic said. “This is an industry that largely provides business with services from other businesses, and it’s an important indicator of business vitality in the region… There seems to be a general weakening in labor demand across the state in April.”
Though the number of jobs fell last month compared to March, the state’s total employment was up by 9,200 jobs compared to April 2017.
The labor department revised its preliminary numbers from March to reflect a greater gain in jobs for that month than previously reported for Maryland. Final numbers show the state gained 3,700 jobs in March, not the 3,200 previously reported.
In April, the state gained 1,000 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 1,000 jobs in the retail trade subsector.
The state labor department said unemployment insurance claims remain low, while the total number of Maryland employers paying into the employee tax system has continued to rise.
“The [state] Department of Labor is committed to helping every Marylander find a job, or grow in their present job,” said Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland’s labor secretary, in an announcement Friday.
Schulz highlighted state services such as job-seeking help through American Job Centers and employer programs such as apprenticeships and EARN Maryland. She said nearly 105,000 jobs are listed on the Maryland Workforce Exchange.