Jobless rate rises in Md., Va. in June


A jobs sign is seen on the front of the US Chamber of Commerce building in this September 2, 2010 file photo in Washington, D.C. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The unemployment rate rose in Maryland and Virginia but fell in the District, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

Maryland’s jobless rate increased to 6.9 percent in June from 6.7 percent the month before. Virginia’s unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent, while the District’s jobless rate dipped to 9.1 percent from 9.3 percent in May.

“Job growth is inevitably weak in June because of all of the graduates coming into the workforce from high school and college,” said Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.

Maryland lost 11,000 jobs in June, including 7,600 in education and health-care services, 1,700 in leisure and hospitality and 1,400 in trade and transportation utilities.

Scott Jensen, Maryland’s interim secretary of labor, licensing and regulation, says the seasonal adjustment of the unemployment data may not have taken into account this year’s earlier-than-normal school closings. “Of course, any job loss is too much,” he said. “But school was out kind of early this year, and that really hurts the model.”

Maryland had two bright spots:’s employment numbers The government created 2,000 new jobs and the financial activities sector added 900.

Virginia created 3,300 jobs in June, but the gains were not enough to keep up with an increase in the state’s workforce. Two thousand jobs were cut in the professional- and business-services sector, and 1,600 positions were lost in construction.

“This little uptick is not statistically significant, and I think it’s just a minor blip,” said Ann D. Lang, senior economist at the Virginia Employment Commission. “But we’ll just have to wait and see what the next several months bring.”

Several sectors added positions: trade and transportation utilities (3,000), leisure and hospitality (2,300), and education and health-care services (1,500).

The District added 3,800 jobs in the education and health-services sectors in June, and recorded gains in construction (1,000) and professional and business services (300).

Leisure and hospitality jobs, however, fell by 1,700. The District lost 600 government jobs and 200 trade and transportation utilities positions.

“The District’s economy has been doing okay because the Feds haven’t started tightening their belts yet,” Fuller said. “But in a year from now, things may look very different.”

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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