By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews
Maryland added 14,000 jobs in October — the second-largest employment increase since March 2000 — and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Tuesday morning by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
The growth came exclusively from the state’s private employers, which added 16,700 workers last month, a 0.8 percent growth rate as government employment at the federal, state and local levels declined. Labor officials also revised September’s jobs figures, estimating an increase of 9,500, down from the 9,800 originally reported. The unemployment rate in September was 6.9 percent.
October marked the third straight month of job gains. Over the last 12 months, Maryland has added 33,300 jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent. Private employment was up 35,500 jobs in that period, a 1.5 percent increase.
“Maryland’s dynamic private sector continues to prove that we are on the cutting edge of innovation and that our greatest assets are the talents, skills, creativity, ingenuity, and education of our people,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a written statement. “A new study released this week by the nonpartisan group The States Project ranks Maryland #2 in the nation for economic opportunity – a sign that the progress we make together does not happen by chance, but by the choices we make as a State to move forward by growing jobs and opportunity.”
Most broad sectors showed growth last month. Professional and business services — these businesses have fueled much of Maryland’s recent growth — added 3,900 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 3,700 and trade and logistics added another 3,700, with much of that increase (3,300) coming from retailers. Health care and private education, another strong sector for Maryland, added 2,700 jobs in October and construction added 2,300. The financial sector added 1,700.
Maryland has added 122,500 jobs since February 2010, when employment in the Old Line State hit its recessionary bottom. The state remains only 18,500 jobs below the number in December 2007, when the recession started.
The state’s unemployment rate dropped in October because 20,977* more Marylanders held jobs than the month before, and the number of unemployed in the state dropped by 5,104.
*This figure differs from the 14,000 figure reported above because the jobs number is distilled from a survey of business establishments and the unemployment number comes from a survey of households. The difference could be accounted for by a wide range of factors, including Marylanders working in the district or another state, or for young, startup companies that have not yet caught the attention of the establishment survey.