Md. payrolls grew by 11,800 in June

Last month's job increase is sixth-highest in nation

58,800 were hired since June 2004

State economy called moving from recovery to brisk growth

July 23, 2005|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Maryland employers added 11,800 jobs in June - one of the best performances in the country, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

The June gain was the sixth-highest in the nation, trailing only Florida, California, New York, Virginia and Texas. And on a percentage basis, Maryland's 0.5 percent increase in June was the third highest.

"While these are preliminary figures, I think it's safe to say that Maryland has transformed itself from .... a mere recovery mode and entered a phase of brisk growth," said John Hopkins, associate director for applied economics at RESI, Towson University's research and consulting unit.

The 58,800 jobs Maryland businesses have created since June 2004 represent the largest 12-month gain since state businesses added 72,700 jobs from September 1999 to September 2000, Hopkins said.

The unemployment rate for June held steady at 4.3 percent from May, well below the national rate of 5 percent. About 125,200 people who wanted work were jobless in June, up about 400 people from the month before, the Labor Department said.

Maryland's civilian labor force stood at 2.93 million last month, down about 3,000 from May, according to the preliminary statistics.

Total employment rose to 2.573 million in June, 11,800 more than in May.

Labor force and unemployment statistics are gathered from a different survey than the job creation data, which is why there is a discrepancy.

Still, economists said, the conclusion is the same: the state is in a strong growth pattern.

The impressive job gains could get even more robust, said Richard Clinch, director of economic research at the Jacob France Institute, part of the University of Baltimore.

The university's most recent survey of Maryland companies found that one of its best indicators of future hiring activity - the share of employers with a upbeat view of state business conditions - jumped from 58 percent at the end of the first quarter to 62 percent at the close of the second quarter - a gain Clinch called "statistically significant."

"We do [typically] get job growth" when that part of the survey is positive, he said.

Job growth in June was fueled largely by traditionally strong portions of Maryland's economy. Professional and business service added 4,600 positions, bringing the total employed in that section to nearly 392,000 people, reflecting the growing economy's need for those workers, Clinch said.

Education and health services, another driver of the state's economic engine, accounted for 356,900 jobs, an increase of about 2,200 from May.

Government added 1,900 jobs, accounting for 466,100 jobs in June, with most of the gains coming at the local level, RESI's Hopkins said. Leisure and hospitality accounted for 900 new jobs.

Manufacturing, which is shedding jobs in many parts of the country, more than "held its own" by holding steady at 139,100 jobs, Hopkins said.

The only category that lost jobs was trade, transportation and utilities, which accounted for 474,200 jobs in June, down 200 from May, the report said.

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