Jobless rate bottoms out in Washington County

June 07, 1997


Staff Writer

Unemployment in Washington County has matched its lowest mark this decade, according to April jobless statistics released Friday by Maryland officials.

The unemployment rate in the county dropped more than a full percentage point, from 5.2 percent in March to 4.1 percent in April, according to state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation jobless estimates.

Shanon Wolf, manager of the agency's Hagerstown office, credits seasonal hiring of workers for jobs like landscaping and construction for much of the increase. But she also said there are other jobs that are being added by new and existing companies, like the Staples distribution center off Hopewell Road that opened earlier this year.


"We're seeing some good hiring," Wolf said.

There were 64,828 county residents working in April, up from 64,628 in March, according to state figures. Meanwhile, the county's labor force dropped from 68,204 to 67,928.

Twice before in the 1990s has the county had a decade-low 4.1 percent unemployment rate - in May of 1990 and November of 1996. A year ago the county's rate was 4.9 percent.

The 6.4 percent rate for the Western Maryland region of Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties also was much lower than the March rate of 7.6 percent. The jobless rate in Frederick County dropped from 3.9 percent to 3.3 percent.

Overall, the state jobless rate fell from 4.6 percent in March to 4.4 in April.

"Declining unemployment rates and increasing employment levels across the state indicate growing strength in Maryland's economy," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said in a prepared statement.

"As we move closer to summer, we are very optimistic that employment levels will expand and job opportunities will continue to open for high school and college students looking for summer work," he said.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell from 5.5 percent to 4.8 percent.

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