State unemployment rate drops to lowest level since November 2008

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest levels in more than five years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Data released Friday show Maryland’s unemployment rate for February is 5.7 percent, the lowest since November 2008.

The unemployment rate for January was 5.8 percent.

Maryland lost an estimated 600 jobs in February, the bureau said. But compared with last February, the state added 7,600 jobs, including 6,400 in the private sector.

In the private sector, the leisure and hospitality sector added 3,900 jobs. The professional and business services sector added 400 jobs and the administrative and support services subsector added 2,100 jobs.

The financial activities sector gained 800 jobs.

The state also gained 300 manufacturing jobs, while the nondurable goods subsector gained 400 jobs.

"While this month's report continues to reflect losses from recent seasonal factors, the Maryland Department of Labor remains focused on cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland's dynamic economy," Maryland Labor Secretary Leonard Howie said in a statement. 

Labor officials said other factors indicate Maryland’s economy is strong.

Median home sale prices rose by 2.6 percent in February to $241,097 and were up 7.7 percent above last year, the 25th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Property foreclosures in Maryland also continued to decline in February and posted the lowest year-over-year growth in 16 months, officials said.

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