RESI on the Economy: January 2017

The Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University is the source for the latest data and analysis on Maryland’s economy. Each month, RESI Chief Economist Dr. Daraius Irani provides an analysis of the latest Maryland unemployment numbers. His analysis ensures business leaders have key information needed to determine how Maryland’s economic status impacts their organization. RESI on the Economy is your source for the latest data and analysis of Maryland’s economy and employment numbers.


Winter may be upon us, but that doesn’t mean that Maryland’s economy can’t enjoy a snow day. According to a preliminary data release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm employment in Maryland grew by 900 jobs in December 2016, while total private nonfarm employment grew by 1,400 jobs. Maryland’s unemployment rate remained constant at 4.2 percent, lower than the national rate of 4.7 percent. Additionally, November’s numbers were revised upwards by 2,000 jobs for total private employment and by 2,300 jobs for total nonfarm employment. As the snow fell throughout December, which sectors heated up by the fire, and which developed some frost around the edges? This month’s Closer Look with Daraius Irani examines these trends for Maryland’s economy.

Hearty Industries

A plethora of industries in Maryland’s economy had cozy growth in December. Much like salt trucks that can drive through anything, the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities supersector saw an increase of 3,600 jobs over the month. This supersector’s gains were supported by Transportation and Utilities, which grew by 2,500, and by Retail Trade, which grew by 1,800. The Accommodation and Food Services subsector enjoyed some hot cocoa by the fire and added 1,500 jobs from November to December and has grown by 1.9 percent since December 2015. Information spread in December, with an increase of 600 jobs, a month-over-month increase of 1.6 percent. Federal government employment in Maryland grew in December, with an increase of 1,400 jobs over the months and 4,000 jobs over the year.

Snowed-In Sectors

While snow days can be fun, sometimes they lead to being stuck in place, which some Maryland sectors experienced in December. The Education and Health Services supersector experienced the largest loss, shrinking by 2,200 jobs, due to a drop of 1,600 jobs in Educational Services and 600 jobs in Health Care and Social Assistance. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services shrank by 1,600 jobs, a loss of 1 percent. Throughout the state, government employment at the local level fell by 1,300 over the month. Wholesale Trade, Financial Activities, and State Government have all been left in the cold for a while, contracting by 2,700 jobs, 1,000 jobs, and 400 jobs, respectively, over the year.

Melting Snow

As with any snow day, eventually temperatures rise and the snow melts away. While this may lead to some thawing in certain industries, others that depend on the warmth of the hearth may burn out with the embers. Given ever-changing current events, only time will tell if the melting snow will result in a deluge of slush or if the changes are a sign of sunny days ahead.

 

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Daraius Irani, Ph.D. serves as vice president of Innovation and Applied Research. He fosters the development of partnerships between business, government, and education that contributes to the economic vitality of our region. He also serves as chief economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute and is often called on by state agencies, private companies, and local governments to provide insight on proposed policies, development, and economic forecasting. With a passion for all things economic, Daraius's posts focus on a wide range of topics from immigration to bicycling.