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.

Maryland’s Employment Numbers Medal Worthy

Much like Maryland’s stellar performance at the recent Olympic Games in Rio, the monthly employment report recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Maryland gave a solid performance for July. Total private employment increased by 7,300 jobs over-the-month, for an increase of 54,300 over the past year. Furthermore, Maryland’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.3 percent, below the national average of 4.9 percent. In July 2015, Maryland’s unemployment rate was at 5.1 percent, whereas the national unemployment rate was 5.3 percent. Maryland’s falling unemployment numbers reflect trends across the region; nearby states, such as Delaware and Virginia, had similar positive employment changes. The preliminary employment data for June were also revised, from an increase of 9,800 to an increase of 6,900 jobs; the report for May was also revised downward. All things considered, Maryland’s strong performance thus far should have secure a place in the semifinals, but will Maryland make it to the medal stand?

Going for Gold

While the strong economic performance was a team effort across numerous industries, there were a few standout competitors for Maryland. Leading the way for the month and over the past year was the Professional and Business Services supersector, which added 6,200 jobs from June to July and 14,400 jobs from July 2015 to July 2016. These changes represent 1.4 percent and 3.3 percent increases respectively. Education and Health Services, a consistently strong performer for Maryland, did not disappoint in July. This supersector added 2,900 jobs over the month and 12,700 jobs over the year. With the change of the state fiscal year, State Government also saw a sizable monthly increase of 2,200 jobs. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality and Accommodation and Food Services experienced large growth, adding 12,400 and 9,800 positions respectively. One thing to watch is the wage level for the industries showing the highest growth. Leisure and Hospitality and Accommodation and Food Services both tend to have lower wages than other sectors.

Bronze Medalists

Despite Maryland’s overall performance, there were a few industries that dropped the baton in July. In the private sector, Wholesale Trade fell by 200 jobs in July and is down 1,000 jobs over the year, a 1.2 percent contraction since July 2015. Management of Companies and Enterprises also lost 500 jobs from July 2015 to July 2016, a yearly percentage decrease of 2.0 percent. In the public sector, Government shrank by 4,400 positions from June to July and by 1,100 positions over the year, changes of -0.9 percent and -0.2 percent respectively. Local Government experienced the worst performance, with an over-the-month loss of 6,600 positions and an over-the-year loss of 3,300 positions.

Defending Champs

Maryland’s solid summer performance continued through July and shows improvement over the past year. While preliminary data can be revised downward and some expanding industries are not the highest wage earners in the state, the state’s performance is not cause for an Olympic upset. As the July employment report and the Olympics come to a conclusion, Maryland’s performance should earn the state at least a silver medal.