June jobless rate jumps

August 01, 1997


Staff Writer

After three straight months of decline, Washington County's unemployment rate rose in June, according to state jobless statistics released Friday.

But that doesn't mean fewer county residents are working, according to Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation jobless estimates, which show an increase in employment from 66,726 workers in May to 67,216 workers in June.

State and local officials attributed the rise in the county's unemployment rate - from 4 percent in May to 4.6 percent in June - to seasonal job seekers swelling the available labor pool.

"It's a very, very typical fluctuation. It just means more people are looking than in the past," said Beverly Baccala, Washington County economic development coordinator. "It may even go a little higher in July and August."


State figures show the county's civilian labor force went up from 69,475 available workers in May to 70,467 available workers in June.

The county's employment rate for June 1996 was 4.6 percent, according to state figures.

Even with the 0.6 percent rise, the county's unemployment rate is still lower than it was at the beginning of the year, Baccala said.

Frederick County, Md., and the state as a whole saw employment patterns similar to Washington County's, according to the state figures.

Frederick County's unemployment rate rose from 3.5 percent in May to 3.7 percent in June, according to state figures. The state's overall unemployment rate went from 4.6 percent in May to 5 percent in June.

"The slight rise in the unemployment rate is fairly normal for this time of year as students, teachers and other seasonal workers enter the labor market," state labor department Secretary Eugene A. Conti Jr. said in a prepared statement.

State officials were encouraged by the continued rise in overall employment in the state, which has grown for five consecutive months, Conti said.

The state's civilian labor force grew from 2,768,664 workers in May to 2,818,606 workers in June, according to state figures. At the same time, employment rose from 2,642,619 workers to 2,676,937 workers.

Retail trade and services - especially in restaurants, amusements, hotels and general merchandise stores - led the seasonal expansion, state labor officials said.

Maryland's unemployment rate is lower than the national rate, which went from 4.7 percent in May to 5.2 percent in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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