Eye on the Economy: Maryland and the Regional Economy in March 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.


On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its preliminary March 2017 employment numbers for Maryland. For the first time since February 2010, Maryland’s unemployment rate rose, albeit by 0.1 percent to a new level of 4.3 percent. This bump was largely the result of an increase in the labor force, as people who weren’t previously looking for work began to do so. However, total nonfarm employment in the state also fell. Last month Maryland lost 7,200 jobs, a decline of 0.3 percent. Although other states in the Mid-Atlantic Region experienced a decline in employment, Maryland’s decrease was higher than the regional average of a 0.2 percent decline. The map below shows the change in total nonfarm employment by state.

eye on the economy

Map showing percent change in total nonfarm employment in the Mid-Atlantic Region for March 2017.

The employment declines witnessed last month were almost all in the private sector. Maryland lost 7,500 private nonfarm jobs and gained 300 government jobs. Similarly, while the Mid-Atlantic Region as a whole lost 28,500 jobs in March, it lost 28,900 private nonfarm jobs and gained 400 government jobs. Maryland’s heaviest job losses were in the Mining, Logging, and Construction supersector, which lost 4,500 jobs in March, a decline of 2.7 percent. Leisure and Hospitality employment fell by 2,700 jobs, especially in the Accommodation and Food Services subsector which lost 2,300 jobs.

However, it wasn’t all grim news for Maryland’s economy. In addition to gaining 300 government jobs, mostly in Local Government, the state added 2,000 Professional and Business Services jobs. Jobs in this sector are often well paying and require an educated workforce, great signs for Maryland’s future growth and stability. The state also added 1,100 jobs in Health Care and Social Assistance. Other bright spots last month included the Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities sector which grew by 600 jobs. Although last month was not the state’s best month, Maryland has still added 44,200 jobs to its economy from March 2016, an increase of 1.6 percent. With increases in some of the state’s best paying sectors, the state economy should stay strong for the foreseeable future.

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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.