In Baltimore city, a 0.3 percent annual decline in unemployment was welcomed in July. We now wait for the August unemployment statistics for counties, which are expected to be released in early October.

Specifically in July, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) rendered the unemployment rate in Baltimore city at 10.8 percent, down from 11.1 percent in the previous month. These figures can be compared with a 7.0 percent statewide and 7.7 percent nationwide unemployment rate for July. Dorchester county (10.0 percent) and Sommerset county (10.4 percent) were the only Maryland municipalities with unemployment rates over 9.0 percent during the same month.

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Maryland joins a list of states with a statistically significant change in employment over a one-month period. Fortunately for residents, the change is a positive.

The latest preliminary numbers from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) show that 43,300 jobs were gained statewide between August 2012 and August 2013. In fact, 9,700 new positions were added between July and August of 2013 alone.

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According to a press release by the DLLR, the state of Maryland has recovered 100 percent of jobs lost from the recession and has actually gained jobs during six of the past eight months. Meanwhile, the local government continues to advance new workforce initiatives.

The original statewide goal to reclaim jobs lost during the recession was by 2014. Now, having exceeded that goal by one year, Maryland launched a new workforce training initiative called EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) that was designed to increase the skills of job seekers.

BLS Employment projections for 2020 indicate that when job training initiatives are implemented, overall workforce participation and salary rates are also increased, thereby lowering overall unemployment rates. This is particularly true for workers with a high school diploma or less, as it appears that additional training has the greatest impact amongst this group. It is esteemed that the new training programs will provide career advancement opportunities to greater numbers of workers statewide, including those in Baltimore city.

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Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on