Tag: unemployment

Baltimore Has Jobs and Here’s Where They Are

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Last month we saw some job growth, on the order of 115,000 new jobs nationwide. Now we know some of those new jobs must be in Baltimore. The Bureau of Labor Statistics let us know where they are.

Temporary help services showed some of the largest growth last month, which is good. When I was looking for work a couple years ago, I called up one local temp agency and before I could explain my skills I was told there were “no jobs.”

Employment opportunities are also showing up in retail. Rite Aid is even going to hold a career fair tomorrow to look for store managers and shift supervisors. If you have an affinity for building materials and garden supplies, you may be in luck; places like Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement have been among the retail stores taking on the most new hires.

Health care employment also picked up, but mostly outside of hospitals. The website for Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, for example, lists 69 openings.

And if these three areas aren’t your thing… I don’t know, keep playing Mega Millions or something.

A Bleak Picture for Baltimore’s Soon-to-Be College Grads

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“When people ask, ‘What do you want to do when you graduate?’ I feel like yelling, ‘Whatever I can do for whoever will hire me,’” Towson University senior Maria Malagari told the Towson Towerlight. She’s hardly alone; this year’s soon-to-be college grads are entering a job market that should make the rest of us grateful that we’re not members of the Class of 2012. (And if you are — sorry!) According to a recent study commissioned by the Associated Press, half of young college graduates are either un- or under-employed. Job prospects for young people with bachelor’s degrees are at the lowest level in more than a decade.

The AP’s analysis of government data is one of the first to take into account the problem of underemployment — that is, when grads have some sort of way to earn money, but not one that employs their skills or offers promise of future advancement. With tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, twenty-somethings feel lucky to get a job as a barista or retail clerk.

Of course, it’s not equally bleak for everyone. Those graduating with degrees in nursing, teaching, accounting, or computer science have much stronger prospects than arts or humanities grads. And suddenly, the time-honored wisdom of going to college in order to snag a high-paying job stops seeming quite so logical. “You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it’s not true for everybody,” says Harvard economist Richard Freeman. However, “If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college.” Most of the careers with the largest projected job growth over the next decade don’t require a college degree.

Back here in Baltimore, the soon-to-be Class of 2012 at Towson remains (nervously) undaunted. “I’m going to keep researching and applying to jobs no matter how many rejections I get,” Malagari told the Towerlight. “I’m still hopeful. I know something will open for me soon.”

Maryland’s Unemployment Rate Sees Halfway Decent Drop in January, Ranks Kind of Okay Nationally

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When I’m driving in heavy traffic and feeling cranky about it, sometimes it feels good to cut someone off and think, “At least I’m doing better than that guy!” Well, in the heavy traffic that is the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, Maryland is doing better than 35 states and the District of Columbia with a rate of 6.5 percent — the lowest we’ve seen in three years — according to January figures just released.

Let’s not even worry about North Dakota, whose unemployment rate is 3.2 percent — they’re doing better than the national average pre-recession! Instead, let’s think about Rhode Island, tied for 49th place with a rate of 10.9 percent. Come on, Rhode Island! How many people ya got there ya can’t get everybody a job?! And can you believe Nevada? They came in dead last at 12.7 percent! By all rights, there ought to be more career options there than anywhere, with everything they’ve legalized!

Actually, maybe the kind of schadenfreude you get from picking on those doing the absolute worst is a little heavy on the schaden, a little light on the freude. In terms of our traffic analogy, it would be like having a laugh at the guy with a smoking engine in the breakdown lane. And we all know works best is feeling superior to the person directly in your rear-view. For us that’s Louisiana, with a rate of 6.9 percent. Ha! Louisiana, you poor sucker!

Unemployment Down. Nobody Get Too Excited.

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Maryland’s unemployment rate fell from a terrifying 6.9 percent in November to a faith-restoring 6.7 percent last month. Sure that’s an improvement (and to be fair, unemployment was as high as 7.4 percent a few months ago), but that two-tenths of a percent leap was won by local and state government agencies adding 4,600 jobs (while in other areas we lost some, leaving us with a 3,100 net job gain). Really, this minuscule and government-granted relief ought to underscore the bleakness of the situation.

It’s like the price of gas. It shoots up to four bucks a gallon and you’re miserable. Then it drops ten cents and you’re heart sings with joy. You just can’t focus on the fact that not too long ago it was $2.24. So everybody try to forget that state unemployment was in the threes just a few years ago.

Cautious Good News For Maryland’s Economy in 2012

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Some good news, for once:  Maryland’s unemployment rate dropped below seven percent last month, and economists are predicting a (slightly) brighter 2012.

Of course, considering bleak recent months, almost anything could be an improvement.  2011 did see job growth overall, but it was a kind of growth that economists called “anemic.” Since the recession began four years ago, the state has added nearly 100,000 people to its unemployment rolls.  (About 207,000 Marylanders are currently unemployed.)  The 2,000 new jobs added in November put a dent in that number, but just barely.

Still, there is some reason for guarded optimism.  Maryland has had three straight months of job growth, for one.  For another, despite the fact that the state’s economic health is deeply entwined with that of the federal government, recent plans for federal cutbacks may not be as harmful to Maryland as you might think.  That’s because the private sector has been fueling the job growth around the state, in such industries as education and health services, hospitality, and construction.  (Meanwhile, 2,300 government jobs were cut.)  In all, about 22,000 jobs have been added by Maryland employers so far this year.

And as for next year? Some economists estimate a slightly-better job base increase of about 20 to 27,000 more jobs next year.  However, those are at best educated guesses.  “I think most folks that are making these projections are using a pencil with a big eraser on it,”  regional economist Gary D. Keith of M&T Bank told the Baltimore Sun. “There’s a lot of balls in the air relative to what we typically look at when we forecast.”

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