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Maryland is the only state where economic activity is expected to deteriorate over the next six months, according to data from the Philadelphia Fed.

As MarketWatch staffer Steve Goldstein reports, Maryland’s leading index fell 0.66% while the national average was a gain of 1.51%. Utah led the way with a 4.36% index and New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming each grew above 3%.

The Philadelphia Fed’s leading indexes is based on data including state-level housing permits, state initial jobless claims, delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing survey, and the interest rate spread between the 10-year Treasury bond and the 3-month Treasury bill.

The news surprised Steven Cochrane, managing director at Moody’s Analytics, who specializes in regional economics. “If I had to pick one [state] that might be declining, it wouldn’t be Maryland,” he said.

Here’s what happened in Maryland:

It’s Maryland’s unemployment rate increase that is driving the increase. At 4.3% in March, the unemployment rate is 29th in the nation, but it’s climbed by a tenth each month this year.

“It’s been quite rare for Maryland to be above the national average, but unemployment can be misleading as it can rise if a community is adding enough people to the labor market,” said Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group and chairman of the Maryland Economic Development Commission.

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