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Maryland unemployment held steady in December

Maryland’s unemployment rate remained at 7.4 percent in December even as payrolls in the state shrank by 6,900 jobs, according to figures released Tuesday morning by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The unemployment rate held steady at 7.4 percent for the last four months of 2010, which saw job gains after two years of losses.

“For the seventh consecutive month, jobs totals have been higher than those reported in comparable months in 2009,” DLLR Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez said in a written statement.

Losses in December were led by the transportation, manufacturing and education services sectors. The biggest gains came from financial services firms and leisure and hospitality businesses, both of which have been strong performers in Maryland.

Employment bottomed out in February and since then, Maryland has added 42,500 net new jobs.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent in December from 9.8 percent in November.