Maryland unemployment rate dips to 6.9% as economy shows slow signs of recovery

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Maryland’s unemployment rate dipped about one percentage point from July to August, down to 6.9%, according to the latest preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.

The rate is down from an April peak of 10.1% following the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, but is still more than double the unemployment rate from March, according to data from the Maryland Department of Labor. States around the country have similarly struggled with job losses and economic stagnation since the pandemic struck.


“Our economy is getting back on track and making a steady recovery,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, wrote in a tweet Friday morning.

The state 183,200 jobs in the past four months, according to the labor department. Its unemployment rate is also below the national average of 8.4%. Unemployment rates fell in 41 states and rose in just two from July to August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a release.


It’s not all the way back yet, though: the pandemic and the ensuing shutdowns have still left a tangible impact on workers and the economy. More than 225,000 Marylanders were unemployed as of August’s seasonally adjusted data, up from about 109,000 in March.

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Daraius Irani, chief economist for the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University, said to expect a slow recovery — a trend line shaped like a Nike “swoosh,” not a “V-shaped” recovery like the one many economists expected at the beginning of the pandemic.

“The ‘V’ was a hope and a prayer,” Irani said.

It could be until mid-2023 or 2024 until the economy returns to full normalcy, driven by a plethora of jobs that could be lost permanently, Irani said.

Maryland’s August jobs gains came partly from industries that were slammed in the pandemic’s wake. The leisure and hospitality sector saw the most growth, adding 5,800 jobs, 4,000 of which came from accommodation and food services, the state’s labor department said.

The travel industry will still face significant challenges going forward due to people’s fears of contracting the virus when staying in hotels and flying, Irani said.

The professional and business sector added 5,100 jobs. The mining, logging, construction and manufacturing sectors didn’t fare as well, losing a combined 700 jobs in August, according to the release.

A record number of Marylanders have filed for unemployment insurance this year. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Marylanders were set to receive as much as $1,800 in extra unemployment benefits last weekend, which had been backlogged after $600 per month in federal assistance stopped.