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Falling leaves and an autumn sky make a picturesque frame for the Maryland state flag flying in front of the historic Queen Anne’s County courthouse in Centreville.

BALTIMORE — According to the preliminary survey data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maryland added 6,500 jobs in December.

During the past five months, 41,900 jobs have been gained, which is the strongest five-month stretch of gains since March 2010. Maryland’s unemployment rate has decreased to 3.5%, which is a new record low for unemployment in the past decade.

“Since our administration took office just over five years ago, over 56,000 Marylanders are no longer unemployed, representing the largest decline in unemployment for any Maryland governor in recorded history,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “With more Marylanders working and more businesses open than ever before, we are delivering on our promise to change Maryland for the better.”

In December, the Education and Health Services sector experienced the most growth with an increase of 2,500 jobs from the Health Care and Social Assistance (1,700) and Education Services (800) sectors. The Leisure and Hospitality sector also had a significant increase of 2,000 jobs from the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (1,500), and Accommodation and Food Services (500) sectors.

“Through our department’s nationally recognized EARN Maryland and apprenticeship programs, we are working directly with the business community to cultivate the skilled workforce they need to compete and grow in this ever-changing 21st century economy,” Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said. “With the record-breaking workforce development funding in Gov. Hogan’s proposed budget, Labor will have the ability to expand and support these industry-led partnerships like never before.”

Other sectors that experienced growth include: Other Services (1,100); Professional and Business Services (1,100); Financial Activities (500); and Mining, Logging and Construction (400).

The Information sector decreased by 700 jobs, the Manufacturing sector decreased by 200 jobs, and the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector decreased by 200 jobs.

November’s preliminary jobs estimate was revised upwards by 2,500 jobs, from a gain of 9,800 jobs to a gain of 12,300 jobs.

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