U.S. unemployment falls below 7 percent Md. jobless rate remained at 6.2% during April

June 05, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

Maryland unemployment remained stable at 6.2 percent in April, as the number of employed Marylanders and the number of job seekers both fell, the Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) announced yesterday.

Economists and state officials said the reality could be better than those numbers suggested, however, because the number of people describing themselves as job seekers fell by nearly 3,000 more than the number of employed Marylanders. Although some workers dropped out of the job market because they were discouraged by poor prospects, others might simply have been on vacation, the state said.

Another survey -- of Maryland employers rather than of Maryland residents -- revealed that state businesses reported creating 18,900 new jobs in April.

Pradeep Ganguly, a researcher at DEED, said the mixed signals might be because of the timing of the two surveys. The questioning of residents took place Easter week, when some Marylanders, such as school system employees, did not work but did not file for unemployment benefits.

Mr. Ganguly said yesterday's report made him cautiously optimistic.

"There are serious problems still in manufacturing and construction," he said. But overall, he added, "there are more positive signs than negative."

The statistical discrepancies between the residential and workplace surveys also bothered Chang M. Kong, a Towson State University economist who studies the local economy. "There is nothing in economic theory that would explain it," he said. "It's a mystery."

But, he said, he was optimistic because of other signs, such as continuing declines in the number of people filing for unemployment insurance.

"It looks good," he said. "The average number of work hours is increasing, and eventually that means employers will hire more people."

While the unemployment rates for each jurisdiction in the state generally remained stable, there were some small changes.

Baltimore's unemployment rate, for example, rose to 9.9 percent, from March's 9.5 percent. Total employment among city residents dropped by about 2,000, to 293,000, in April. And the unemployment rate in Garrett County jumped by 2 percentage points, to 14.5 percent.

Other areas saw improvements.

Worcester County, for example, which in March reported the highest unemployment rate in the state, dropped to third highest behind Garrett and Talbot counties, as its rate fell 3.7 percentage points, to 11.3 percent, in April. And Carroll County's unemployment rate dropped 1 percentage point, to 6 percent.

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