• The most recent jobs report showed that in May 2021, Maryland gained a total of 11,500 Total Nonfarm jobs.
  • The official unemployment rate for Maryland decreased to 6.1 percent.

According to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maryland gained a total of 11,500 Total Nonfarm jobs in May. This was a result of a gain of 9,800 Total Private jobs and 1,700 Total Government positions. Along with the increase in jobs, Maryland’s unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent in May.

In May 2021, the largest subsector job gains were seen in Health Care and Social Assistance, with an increase of 2,600 jobs. This was followed by an increase of 2,200 jobs in Accommodation and Food Services and a gain of 2,100 jobs in Educational Services. New positions were also created in ten additional subsectors, varying between 100 and 1,400 jobs in each sector. In comparison, only six subsectors experienced a loss in jobs for May, with no single subsector reporting more than 700 fewer positions than in April.

While these job figures are trending in the right direction, the speed of recovery is still slower than many politicians and economists would like to see. Based on the number of jobs gained in the past three months, it will take an additional year to reach the same employment levels that were reported in Maryland at the very beginning of the pandemic. The unemployment rate has been particularly stubborn, as the new jobs added in 2021 have been matched by individuals re-entering the labor force, causing the rate to remain unchanged even as jobs return. As discussed last month, this is due in part to a reluctance (or inability) among some Maryland residents to return to work. In response, Governor Hogan has recently announced an early end to increased federal unemployment benefits, including the additional $300 a week and all benefits for gig workers, independent contractors, and the self-employed. However, some evidence has shown that the labor shortage has more to do with low wages than a lack of desire to work, as businesses across that country that have increased their wages have seen job applications skyrocket in response. The governor’s action may succeed in forcing some Maryland residents back to work, but it will not address the underlying issues that made the jobs undesirable in the first place.

With widespread vaccinations and rapidly decreasing cases of the coronavirus, there is hope that we are hitting a turning point with both the pandemic and the economy. With the situation evolving quickly, stay tuned for more updates on how employment in Maryland, across the region, and the country are responding.