Despite National Gains, Maryland’s Economic Recovery Wobbles

For the first time in 13 months, Maryland lost 6,400 jobs in June. The state's unemployment rate ticked up to 6.2 percent, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, nonfarm payrolls increased 850,000 for the month, which beat expectations. The national unemployment rate, however, rose to 5.9%. “Today’s jobs report is further evidence of the ongoing challenges our state’s economy is facing due to a serious labor…

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MD’s Planned Fed Unemployment Cutoff Faces Lawsuits, Uncertainty

Governor Hogan's decision to stop Maryland's participation in federal supplements to unemployment benefits faces lawsuits to stop his decision, with the planned cutoff date fast approaching. Last month, Governor Hogan announced his intention to suspend Marylanders' receipt of federally-supported unemployment benefit add-on payments - citing concerns that the additional payments contributed to employers' difficulty in hiring and re-hiring. That decision has come under fire, with employee groups filing suit to compel the State to continue…

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Montgomery County’s Minimum Wage Increases July 1

On July 1, the minimum wage in Montgomery County will increase to $15 for employers with 51 or more employees and $14 for employers with 50 or fewer employees; a small employer, with 10 or fewer employees, is required to pay $13.50 hourly. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Montgomery County will raise the minimum wage incrementally, each July 1, until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022. The number of workers employed by the business will…

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Maryland Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall

Maryland gained 11,500 jobs in May and unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to The Daily Record: This is the 13th consecutive month of job growth in Maryland. Since the beginning of 2021, Maryland has gained a total of 41,200 jobs. The education and health services sector experienced the most growth, with an increase of 4,700 jobs from the health care and social…

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City Leadership to Hogan: Reinstate Federal Unemployment Boost

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott, City Council President Nick J. Mosby, and City Comptroller Bill Henry this morning sent a letter to Governor Larry Hogan urging him to reverse his decision to halt federally-funded unemployment benefits. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the governor earlier this month announced that Maryland will discontinue its participation in pandemic unemployment programs that enhance benefits, including the extra $300 weekly payments and coverage for the self-employed. According to…

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State & Local Employment Still Down, Trailing National Trends

Despite a jump in overall employment, the latest reports show state and local jobs remaining unfilled, notably in education. While the American economy, with its mystifying mix of signs and signals, has continued to regain many jobs lost during the pandemic, job totals in state and local governments appear to be recovering more slowly. From coverage on Route Fifty, "State and Local Employment Remains Stubbornly Down" comes this insight: State and local government employment was…

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Maryland to End Enhanced Federal Unemployment Benefits

Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland will discontinue enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefits and reinstate work search requirements on July 3. “Our health and economic recovery continues to outpace the nation, and we have reached the benchmark set by President Biden of vaccinating 70% of adults,” said Governor Hogan. “While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem…

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Child Care Investments: Are States Ready for the Spotlight?

The American Rescue Plan includes $39 Billion for child care programs - more than the federal government has targeted for such needs in the last five years, put together. Are states ready for the infusion, and do they have the means to effectively manage these funds? Federal funding as part of a post-COVID recovery included a variety of facets -- but child care has long lingered among the tougher to solve elements of getting the…

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Former Delegate: Empower Public Sector Unions Everywhere

Former Delegate Jimmy Tarlau argues for the State to mandate all public sector employers to allow employees to unionize and collectively bargain. On the Maryland Matters website, former Delegate Jimmy Tarlau - still involved in labor leadership after his time in the legislature - makes the case for statewide unionization laws, rather than a local option. From his opinion piece: Most Northern states have collective bargaining laws in place that allow public workers to form…

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US Department of Labor’s FAQs on COBRA Continuing Health Care Coverage

A recent discussion of county Human Resources officers highlighted new federal rules, arising from the American Rescue Plan Act, altering employer and employee responsibilities for continuing health care coverage post-employment. A F-A-Q document available from the US Department of Labor is a good guide to employer and employee need-to-know topics. From the US Department of Labor, here are selections from the Frequently Asked Questions about COBRA health insurance continuing coverage: General Information Q1: I have…

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