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Md. jobless rate for May shows slight increase


Maryland's unemployment rate barely changed in May, inching up to a seasonally adjusted 5.0 percent from 4.9 percent in April, but still a half-point less than the national rate of 5.5 percent, state officials said yesterday.

Maryland ended 1994 with a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 4.7 percent. Analysts expect little change in state unemployment until next year, when federal budget cuts could put more people out of work.

"For the balance of the year, I think it'll be just about where it is now," said Robert Sweet, chief economist for First National Bank of Maryland. "Where I do have concern is in coming years."

By adjusting employment figures for seasonal variations such as tourism-related hiring, economists are able to discern jobless trends from one month to the next.

The number of jobs in the state grew by 14,800 in May compared with May 1994, an increase of 0.7 percent. Total Maryland jobs, as measured by payroll counts, came to 2,172,500.

The data, released by the state's Department of Economic and Employment Development, fit into economists' predictions of state employment growth for 1995 in the 1 percent range. "I think this year and next year are going to be very slow," said Charles McMillion, president of MBG Associates, a Washington economic consulting firm.

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