January’s jobs report includes revisions to the previously released (and somewhat dismal) December 2017 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the unemployment rate was revised up to 4.1% for December (initial December unemployment rate reported was 4.0%), Total Nonfarm employment in December was revised to 11,000 job losses—a reduction to the 20,200 job losses figure initially reported. Between December and January, Maryland added 12,900 Total Nonfarm jobs, including employment gains of 14,600 Total Private jobs and a loss of 1,700 Government jobs. Maryland made the greatest gains in the Professional and Business Services supersector, adding 6,700 jobs in January. Education and Health Services also pulled in gains of 3,500 positions, followed by 2,300 jobs added in the Mining, Logging, and Construction supersector. Government jobs fell by 1,700 positions, while the Financial Activities supersector lost approximately 800 jobs.
Neighboring states in the Mid-Atlantic region (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.) added a combined net 1,700 jobs in January, including gains of 3,400 Total Private jobs and a loss of 1,700 Government jobs. Maryland’s unemployment rate for January remained constant at 4.1% from December’s revised figure, while neighboring states’ unemployment rate also held constant at 4.4% (also revised up from 4.3% to 4.4% in December).
Why were there so many revisions made to December’s figures?
As noted in our last blog post, the BLS collects employment numbers through a business survey. During busy holiday times, businesses may not respond to the survey in time, which then impacts the employment estimates made by the BLS. In December, the BLS reported that only 64.9% of businesses had responded to the survey. For the final sample release, the BLS now reports a response rate of 95.8%. Though it may appear that Maryland has been on a hiring rollercoaster—showing big declines in December employment followed by large gains in January—the changes are most-likely attributed to a more complete and accurate survey sample as well as the seasonal adjustment process used by the BLS. Since November 2017, hiring in Maryland appears stable and the state has added approximately 1,900 Total Nonfarm jobs.
To make more sense of what’s happening with Maryland’s employment numbers, we’ve embedded our new tool: the Mid-Atlantic Regional Employment Workbook. This dashboard allows you to examine 29 different industries and see how employment is varying in Maryland as well as four other states in the Mid-Atlantic region. To use the dashboard select a sector of the economy that interests you from the dropdown at the top. When you change the sector of interest, the map and five line graphs will update to reflect historical data for that industry. Want to know how employment changed in the sector last month? Hover over each state in the map for percentage changes. Or hover over the line graphs to get more detailed information on the number of employees each month since January 2016 by state.
About the Authors
Daraius Irani, Ph.D.
Daraius Irani, Ph.D. serves as vice president of Strategic Partnerships 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.
Katie Menking serves as economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute. She has numerous roles, including primary and secondary data collection and analysis, methodology design, and report writing and editing. Katie is a primary author of Eye on the Economy, RESI’s monthly analysis of unemployment data. Read Katie’s Posts