Maryland jobless rate edges up But July's 4.9% remains below national level

September 07, 1996|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,SUN STAFF

Maryland's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose a notch to 4.9 percent in July but still stayed well below the nation's jobless rate of 5.4 percent for the same month, state officials said yesterday.

The state's jobless rate, which has hovered within two-tenths of a point below or over 5 percent since April 1994, was 4.8 percent in June of this year.

U.S. Labor Department officials said yesterday that the national unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in August. Maryland's jobless tally for August won't be disclosed until next month.

Without a statistical adjustment to iron out seasonal variations, the percentage of Marylanders who wanted to work in July but couldn't actually declined from the previous month, the state said.

The nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.2 percent in June to 4.8 percent in July, said the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. And the estimated number of Marylanders who wanted to work but couldn't fell by more than 10,000 to 135,000, even though more people were looking for work.

The size of the labor force rose from 2.79 million in June to 2.83 million in July, the state said. The statistics are based on household surveys of Maryland residents.

"It is very positive news that even with the continued seasonal labor force expansion during July, the unemployment rate dropped," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said in a prepared statement. Like other mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, Maryland has recovered relatively slowly from the last recession, adding jobs at a rate of perhaps a 1 percent or 1.5 percent rate in the year ended in July, slower than the nation's 2.2 percent job growth.

Maryland's unemployment rate is usually below that of the nation, but "Maryland is an expensive place to be unemployed," said Charles McMillion, chief economist of MBG Information Services in Washington, and the unemployed often move elsewhere.

Among Maryland municipalities, Cecil County had the highest unadjusted unemployment rate in July, at 10 percent. Montgomery County had the lowest, at 2.6 percent. Metropolitan Baltimore had a 5.5 percent jobless rate; Baltimore City had an 8.1 percent rate.

Pub Date: 9/07/96

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