Maryland shed the third-highest amount of jobs nationally in May, while the unemployment rate dipped in the District and held steady in Virginia, according to newly released jobs numbers.
The U.S. Department of Labor said Maryland lost 7,500 jobs in May, eclipsed only by North Carolina and Pennsylvania, marking the third straight month of job losses in the state. Its unemployment rate also ticked up to 6.8 percent.
Still, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley said the state was in better shape than last year and took a swipe at the economic policies of President George W. Bush, whom he continues to blame for today's economic turmoil.
|May jobs figures|
|Unemployment rate dropped from 9.5 percent to 9.3 percent|
|D.C. added more than 2,000 jobs|
|Unemployment rate increased from 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent|
|The state lost 7,500 jobs|
|Unemployment rate stayed the same at 5.6 percent|
|The state added 24,800 jobs|
"This was a disappointing monthly report after what has been a solid steady year of job creation and recovery," he said, adding, "30,800 more Marylanders are working than were at this time last year. This is the best May-to-May for job creation since before the Bush recession."
However, the May jobs losses are troubling because employers typically hire more workers in the warmer months.
The labor statistics show that 4,600 construction jobs, 3,100 professional and business services jobs, 800 financial jobs and 300 manufacturing jobs were lost from April -- offsetting slight gains in the education and transportation fields.
In Virginia, the unemployment rate held at 5.6 percent, 0.6 percentage points lower than this point last year.
"With great cooperation from the legislature, we have charted a course over this couple of years that has had Virginia make more progress than most states," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a conference call during a European trade mission, pointing out "looming challenges" on the horizon.
Such job growth has complicated the political argument for Republicans in the battleground state. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has skewered President Obama's economic policies in the state, while McDonnell, one of his top surrogates, touts steady growth during his time at the helm.
The national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray welcomed a 0.2 percentage point dip in the unemployment rate, which now sits at 9.3 percent -- down from 10.2 percent the previous year.
"I'm elated that the unemployment rate in the District is continuing to fall as more and more residents are finding jobs," he said. "However, despite overall employment continuing to grow, too many individuals across the city are still looking for work."