Maryland, PA have continued good marks as unemployment remains extremely low

20 May 2024- Both Maryland and Pennsylvania continue to clock in with extremely low unemployment rates at 2.6% and 3.4%, respectively. The states, which have some of the strongest job numbers in the nation, continue to be buoyed by a strong labor market and increasing labor participation rates.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged over the month at 3.4% in April. This was the seventh consecutive month at 3.4%. The U.S. unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point from its March rate to 3.9%. 

The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate was equal to its April 2023 level of 3.4%, while the national rate was up one-half of a percentage point over the year.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 17,000 over the month due entirely to growth in resident employment while unemployment was unchanged from the March level.

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 2,600 over the month to a record high of 6,149,500. This was the ninth consecutive record high for Pennsylvania’s jobs count. Jobs increased from March in six of the 11 industry supersectors. The largest movement over the month was a gain of 4,000 jobs in education & health services which rose to a record high for the 11th consecutive month. 

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs were up 81,000 with gains in six of the 11 supersectors. Education & health services (+58,000) had the largest volume over-the-year gain among supersectors.

As for Maryland, the state has continued to add jobs despite having their first full month without both the Port of Baltimore as well as the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

These factors have hampered some jobs, impacting hundreds of businesses and an estimated 20,000 workers who support daily Port functions. Most jobs at the Port lie in the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sector, which had a decrease of 1,000 jobs in April. To address employment impacts, federal, state, and local officials took swift, coordinated actions. Unified Command worked quickly to partially reopen the Port and has given a clear timeline for fully restored operations. Additionally, the administration has directed federal and state economic aid to impacted businesses and workers through programs at the Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, and Department of Housing and Community Development. The administration continues to monitor high frequency economic data and to work closely with stakeholders to understand the full scope of the impact from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Maryland’s economy.

These actions are supporting Maryland workers and businesses at a critical time. The Department of Labor’s Worker Retention Program, for example, has helped avert nearly 3,000 layoffs through grants to keep Port workers on the job. And the Department of Labor’s Worker Support program provides additional benefits to workers who have lost their job at the Port. “Our goal has been to keep as many Port workers as possible attached to their jobs so that as regular operations resume, businesses are ready to go,” said Portia Wu, Maryland’s Secretary of Labor. “Through targeted assistance we have been able to keep thousands of Port workers on payroll and provide thousands of additional impacted workers with temporary economic support during this time.”

Maryland also saw an increase in its labor force participation rate, rising by 0.2% to 65.2% Although Maryland’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 2.5% to 2.6% in April, it remains the 5th lowest in the nation. The uptick can largely be attributed to more Marylanders entering or re-entering the labor force looking for work.

The top five sectors adding jobs in April were: Government (3,000 jobs); Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (2,000 jobs); Accommodation and Food Services (1,700 jobs); Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (1,500 jobs); and Health Care and Social Assistance (1,500 jobs). The five sectors experiencing the largest declines last month were: Construction (-1,400); Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (-1,000 jobs); Finance and Insurance (-800 jobs); Wholesale Trade (-300 jobs); and Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (-200 jobs).