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Md. jobless rate in March fell slightly, to 7.4%


Unemployment in Maryland fell slightly for the first time in six months as higher seasonal employment in government and in the services and trade industries reduced the March jobless rate to 7.4 percent from 7.5 percent the month before, the state reported yesterday.

Most counties' jobless rates fell during the month, but Baltimore unemployment remained at February's 10.6 percent rate, revised downward from the 10.8 percent initially reported, the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development said.

Unemployment in Baltimore, the five surrounding counties and Queen Anne's County fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent. The state figures, which are a month behind the national statistics, are not seasonally adjusted.

"It is clear from all the economic data that the recession is beginning to come to an end in Maryland," DEED Secretary Mark L. Wasserman said. "Employment has increased, manufacturers are beginning to increase working hours, and housing permits and new-car sales are up considerably."

New-car registrations increased 47.5 percent from February's total to 22,352 in March, a 14.5 percent rise from March 1991 registrations.

The number of housing units authorized in Maryland was 66 percent higher in March than in February and 28 percent higher than the 2,339 units authorized a year ago.

Of the net gain of 10,200 jobs, the strongest sectors were services and government, with increases of 3,600 and 3,100 jobs, respectively.

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