Maryland’s economy continued to add jobs steadily in January, enough to push the state’s unemployment rate to the lowest it’s been in about 11 years.
The 3.7 percent unemployment rate was lower than the national rate of 4 percent, allaying fears about the harm from a weeks-long partial government shutdown in a state so dependent on government work and contracting.
But the strong gains recently posted for all of 2018 were revised downward somewhat in the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, making the year not quite as impressive to economists.
“Overall for Maryland, it was sort of middle of the road,” said Sonya Waddell, a vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
The year-over-year job growth from 2017 to 2018 was revised from 1.9 percent to 1.6 percent, just below the U.S. growth rate of 1.8 percent, she said.
“The 1.6 percent is still a pretty strong number for Maryland,” she said. “While it’s not the strongest in a post-recession period, it’s among one of the stronger posted by the state in the last few years.”
There was an average job creation of 3,600 a month last year, compared with 200 a month in 2017, she said.
Maryland’s job growth continued in January, when 3,100 jobs were added. And the state’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent this January was down from 4.2 in January 2018.
The state added the most jobs in the month in the education and health services categories. Jobs also were added in trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality and financial activities. Jobs were lost in January in construction, manufacturing, professional and business services and government.
The low unemployment rate and addition of jobs means employers are likely to continue having trouble filling every position.
"Maryland’s low unemployment presents unique challenges for employers looking to fill their talent pipelines; [the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s] innovative workforce programs can help," said James E. Rzepkowski, Maryland’s acting labor secretary, in a statement. "Working with industry and business partners, we’re addressing employee skill gaps through workforce development programs that help workers overcome barriers to employment, learn new skills, and obtain important credentials, ensuring Maryland’s businesses have the talent they need to compete and grow."