Latest Employment Data Delivers Mixed Messages

The U.S. Department of Labor’s latest data indicates that Maryland gained 3,400 jobs and its unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent, reports The Baltimore SunThe number of jobs in Maryland in September 2016 is 1.7 percent higher than it was one year earlier.

However, the Department revised earlier numbers for August – rather than gain 700 jobs, the state lost 4,400 jobs that month. Reports The Sun: 

Economists said the end-of-summer fluctuation may be a statistical fluke, traced to the difficulties of estimating hiring at the start of the school year.

But the bigger picture remains unclear. ….

Economist Daraius Irani said the summer slowdown may be the first hint of even more moderate growth in the coming months, perhaps slipping the economy into a recession.

“We’re probably starting to see the beginning edges of it,” Irani said.

Economist Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Policy Group, opined that a recession could occur in the next two years, for national and global rather than state-specific reasons.

The public sector drove much of the recent employment gains in Maryland, adding 4,900 jobs. The financial sector added 1,500 jobs, and business services firms added 700 positions.  Education and health services employment fell by 1,800, while jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector dropped by 1,600. Payrolls in the trade, transportation and utilities sector fell by 1,300.