Maryland jobless rate dips to 3.7%

Construction, retail, service sectors help state outperform U.S.

City's rate highest at 7.6%

September 08, 2001|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Temporary summer employment and job growth in the construction, retail and service sectors helped push Maryland's unemployment level down to a rate of 3.7 percent in July, the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said yesterday.

The 3.7 percent rate was considerably lower than last month's nationwide unemployment level of 4.7 percent and was down from a statewide rate of 3.9 percent in June.

"To me, it signifies that any slowdown that's occurring nationally is happening at a lesser rate here in Maryland," said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information in the state's labor department.

Montgomery County's unemployment rate, although unchanged from June, was the lowest in the state at 2.1 percent.

Dorchester County recorded the highest rate at 7.7 percent - down from 8.8 percent in June.

In the Baltimore metropolitan region, Howard County had the best record with its unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, the same rate recorded in June.

Baltimore's rate was the highest at 7.6 percent, but that was down from the 7.8 percent it saw in June.

Arnold said July is typically a high-employment month both because good weather allows for construction jobs to go forward and because it's a time when the "amusement" sector grows, thanks to things such as carnivals that come to the state and increased ticket sales at movie theaters.

The civilian labor force in the state was 2.944 million in July, up from 2.922 million in June.

The number of job seekers who couldn't find work was at nearly 110,000 in July, while the number was nearly 113,000 in June.

The services sector saw the largest year-over-year employment increase with a jump of 2.1 percent to 897,000.

Manufacturing had the biggest drop, with a 2.76 percent decrease to 176,000 jobs.

"Maryland's economic performance continues to be strong and surpass that of the national economy," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said in a statement.

"Businesses in the state are continuing to hire as a record number of job seekers take advantage of employment opportunities."

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