Howard County now has an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent for August, down from 8.1 percent in April of this year and 1.6 percent lower than the Maryland unemployment rate of 6.9 percent. Howard County’s rate is one of the lowest of the 24 Maryland counties; prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in February, Howard County reported a 2.7 percent unemployment rate.

“Howard County saw more than 55,000 residents file for unemployment since March, but we’re now seeing a steady recovery of jobs throughout many sectors,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, our team has been working nonstop from business support to worker trainings to food distributions to rent and mortgage assistance, to assist out of work employees due to pandemic. While there is still a long road ahead to combat COVID-19, it is welcome news to see that businesses in Howard County have been able to adapt quickly and are actively looking for job seekers in our region.”

In August, there were more than 19,400 job openings posted online in Howard County. Industries with the most job openings posted online for positions in Howard County were professional services (6,702 positions), health care and social assistance (1,736), and manufacturing (1,072).

Online job postings indicate that many of the certification requirements in demand in Howard County are related to information, IT, cybersecurity, computer networking and nursing. But many jobs do not require certifications, but rather demand basic skills such as customer service, problem solving, flexibility, ability to work independently, attention to detail, and decision-making. Among the most promising segments for current jobseekers are fulfillment centers, delivery services, emerging retail and restaurants, health care and perhaps manufacturing/assembly.

The Howard County Economic Development Authority has consolidated business support and employee resources since March in an online portal, including reopening guidelines and compliance, businesses assistance programs, health and safety guidelines and more.

Through his HoCo RISE initiative, Ball has allocated $5.7 million in CARES Act funding to restaurants, agriculture, and retail business grants, and $1 million in grants for child care establishments and hotels. In September, Ball allocated more than $750,000 in CARES Act funding to live venues and local artists and non-profits.

If you are currently unemployed or seeking a job, the Office of Workforce Development offers resources and support at