Governor O'Malley today issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly release of state jobs and unemployment data:
"Despite January's preliminary jobs report from BLS indicating monthly losses, Maryland's economy continues to show signs of strength across a broad array of indicators, including driving down our unemployment rate to 5.8 percent, its lowest level since November 2008.
"Among the most important things a state can do to create jobs and build a strong middle class over the long-run is to ensure young people have access to a quality education. Maryland has had the #1 ranked public schools for five years in a row, according to Education Week Magazine, and we've done more than any other state in the nation since 2007-08 to hold down the cost of college.
"In addition, Maryland has been ranked the #1 state in the nation for innovation and entrepreneurship for two years in a row by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we moved more Marylanders from welfare to work last year than at any time in our state's history, we're a national leader in creating green jobs, and we're one of the top three states in the country for upward economic mobility according to Pew Center for the States.
"But we still have more work to do. That's why we are investing more than ever to put people to work building roads, bridges, and transit projects; why we expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit; why we've set, and exceeded, the most ambitious Minority Business Enterprise goals in the country; and why we're fighting to raise Maryland's minimum wage to $10.10.
"We are creating an economy with a human purpose. And we must continue to make better choices so that everyone who works hard will have the opportunity to succeed."