Md. jobless rate is up, but it's still record low for May

The state's unemployment rate rose in May but still reached an all-time low for the month, the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said yesterday.

Maryland's jobless rate was 3.2 percent in May, compared with 2.9 percent in April. The national average for May was 4.1 percent.


The state's previous record rate was 3.5 percent in May last year.

"May was the 10th consecutive month that the unemployment rate set a new record low for the month," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening.


In the Baltimore metropolitan region, Howard County again had the lowest rate at 1.7 percent, up from 1.4 percent in April. Baltimore had the highest level of unemployment in the state at 7.1 percent, up from 6.1 percent the prior month.

Montgomery County had the state's lowest number at 1.6 percent. The unemployment rate in the Baltimore metropolitan region was 3.8 percent, up from 3.3 percent the previous month.

"This is not anything atypical," said Mary Jo Yeisley, an administrator in the state's office of labor market analysis and information. "May is normally a month of rising unemployment."

That's largely attributed to summer slowdowns in manufacturing and to summer break, when high school and college students start looking for work.

And, Yeisley said, food-service workers at community colleges and universities are usually contract workers who are temporarily laid off during the summer.

On the flip side, sectors such as restaurants, hotels and recreation hire more people in the summer.

Elsewhere in the Baltimore region, Anne Arundel County's rate was 2.4 percent; Carroll's was 2.2 percent; Baltimore County's was 3.7 percent; and Harford County had a rate of 2.8 percent.