Jobless rate up a bit in Md.

4% in September beats nation's 4.7%, but outlook is bleak

November 03, 2001|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington had little, if any, impact on employment in Maryland, during September, according to statistics released yesterday by the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, but there is likely to be bad news ahead for the state's economy, analysts said.

Maryland's unemployment rates rose slightly in September, to 4 percent from the 3.9 percent in August, according to a department survey done after the attacks.

The rate here compared with a national jobless rate of 4.7 percent in September.

"For the events of Sept. 11th to have such a small level of impact on Maryland is pretty good news, said Richard Clinch, program manager for the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Center, which researches the state and local economies.

Said John P. O'Connor, Secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: "Even during the unfortunate events and aftermath of Sept. 11, Maryland's economy remains stable."

Clinch credited Maryland's "enormous defense industry" for the state's economic stability.

"When you look at what's growing nationally - defense - Maryland is huge in that business," he said.

Anirban Basu, director of applied economics at Towson University's RESI Research and Consulting unit, warned, however, that there are dark clouds hovering over the Maryland economy.

Basu pointed out that the national unemployment rate did not change in September, but jumped to 5.4 percent last month from 4.9 percent in September.

The Maryland figures trail the national numbers by a month.

"I suspect the October and November figures will be higher in Maryland," Basu said.

"The short-term future is not rosy."

Clinch agreed. He said workers in Baltimore are going to feel the results of sluggish retail sales in the coming months more than will those living in surrounding counties.

Employment at record level

The labor department reported that even though the number of seasonal jobs declined in September, employment totaled 2,776,851, a record for the month.

There were 52,910 more workers in September than in September 2000.

The Baltimore metropolitan region's jobless rate was 4.6 percent in September, up from 4.5 percent in August.

In Baltimore, the rate rose to 8 percent from 7.8 percent.

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