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Baltimore’s unemployment rate rises sharply at beginning of 2018

• Preliminary data for January 2018 pegged Baltimore’s unemployment rate at 4.7%, which would mark the first year-over-year increase in Baltimore’s unemployment rate since 2013. The shark tick upwards at the beginning of 2018 puts Baltimore far above Maryland’s average unemployment rate of 4.1%.

• Job gains at the close of 2017 were revised downwards by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving employment growth in December nearly flat with only 1,900 jobs added in the metro area over the course of 2017. Professional and Business Services posted 3,400 job losses, making it the worst year for the office occupying sector since 2009.

• Growth in Education and Health Services has remained consistent, benefitting Baltimore City, where the sector counts for nearly a third of the city’s job base. Driven by education and health, payrolls rose by 10,400 jobs year-over-year at the beginning of 2018 in Baltimore City, which is the largest jump in two years.

• Sustained growth in office occupancy and net absorption will remain challenging with an inconsistently growing job base. An uptick in leasing at the end of 2017 was aided by education and healthcare users, which may continue to boost office demand going forward as the sector grows at a healthy clip.

Source: JLL Research, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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