In Maryland, first-time unemployment claims dropped to their lowest level since September 2020. But the market's recovery has a ways to go.

 First-time unemployment claims in Maryland dropped to their lowest level since late last year, the state's labor department announced Thursday.

Data released by state officials show 9,514 workers applied for jobless relief in the week ending April 17. That represents a 7.75 percent decrease from the 10,314 claims that were filed the prior week.

The last time Maryland's weekly total was this low was for the week ending Sept. 19, 2020, when 9,185 workers filing for unemployment benefits.

The latest addition pushes the total number of filings since the pandemic began to more than 1.79 million.

While the number of initial filings has dropped substantially from its peak in May 2020, it is still high by historical standards.

Prior to the pandemic, jobless claims in Maryland hovered between 2,000 and 6,500 per week. During the public health crisis, however, these numbers have fluctuated between 2,090 and 109,263. The all-time pandemic high was for the week ending May 2.

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Of the 9,514 workers who applied last week, 1,817 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) — a federal program for gig workers, contractors, and other self-employed people who otherwise are ineligible for regular jobless benefits.

The jurisdiction with the most PUA claims last week was Prince George's County, with 214, according to state data. Read more at Patch