Labor force participation rises in Maryland, over 6,000 jobs added in May

25 June 2024- Maryland added 6,400 total jobs in May, including 5,200 in the private sector, and the state’s economy continued its strong employment growth in the healthcare industry. The monthly jobs data released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics today also showed that Maryland’s workforce is growing –the labor force participation rate rose by 0.1 percent to 65.3 percent in May–which is a good sign that more workers are available to take jobs.

May’s report also offers a fuller picture of statewide employment in the weeks following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge and disrupted operations at the Port of Baltimore. Most jobs at the Port are classified within the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sector, which has experienced a gradual decline in overall employment over the last two years following a pandemic boom. Between March and May of this year, statewide employment fell by 1,600 jobs in that sector, which comprises nearly 110,000 workers across Maryland.

Swift response to clear the Port’s shipping channel, as well as targeted economic aid, made a critical difference for Port-related businesses and workers. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Maryland Departments of Commerce, Housing and Community Development, and Labor have offered various financial relief programs. The Department of Labor’s Worker Retention Program, for example, offered grants of up to $200,000 to 284 Port-related businesses, which kept more than 3,100 workers on the job and earning income.

“The jobs data released today is encouraging. More Marylanders are looking for jobs, and through the great workforce partnerships we have in place in expanding industries like healthcare, we can meet the needs of businesses and job seekers,” said Portia Wu, Maryland’s Secretary of Labor. “I’m also very heartened to see that the State’s economic response, including our department’s Worker Retention and Worker Support Programs, have helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of workers stay afloat during this challenging time.”

Maryland’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the nation, though it ticked up slightly from 2.6 to 2.7 percent in May. The slight increase can largely be attributed to more Marylanders entering or re-entering the labor force looking for work.

In May, the top five sectors that contributed to Maryland’s job growth were: Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation (+2,100 jobs); Health Care and Social Assistance (+1,600 jobs); Accommodation and Food Services (+1,300 jobs); Government (+1,200 jobs); and Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (+1,200 jobs). However, the state also saw job losses in several sectors, including: Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (-1,000 jobs); Wholesale Trade (-800 jobs); Retail Trade (-500 jobs); Private Educational Services (-400 jobs); Information (-200 jobs); and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-200 jobs).