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Unemployment rate holds steady

October 04, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Washington County's jobless rate held steady in August, thanks to small declines in both the available labor pool and the number of employed workers, a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation official said.

Although the number of unemployed people dropped slightly - from 2,918 workers in July to 2,901 workers in August - the county's unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, according to jobless statistics released Friday.

The county's pool of available workers declined from 71,322 people in July to 71,131 people in August, according to the statistics.

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That decline was offset by a similar dip in the number of employed county residents, which went from 68,404 workers in July to 68,230 workers in August, statistics showed.

The numbers reflect a fairly good summer labor market and the stable labor force typical of the area, said Shanon Wolf, manager of the agency's Hagerstown office.

You generally see some drop in the labor pool in August as people who haven't found seasonal employment quit looking, Wolf said.

Washington County's small change indicates that most people who entered the work force for seasonal employment were able to find jobs, she said.

It wasn't a surprise, said Wolf, who said the county's jobless rate has stayed flat from July to August in most years.

There were no major hirings or layoffs in the county last month, she said.

"It was a very stable period in terms of employment and unemployment," Wolf said.

The county's jobless rate was 4.7 percent in August 1996.

Employment followed a like pattern in Frederick County, Md., said Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation spokesman Marco K. Merrick.

While Frederick County had 48 fewer unemployed workers than it had in July, its jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.3 percent in August, according to the statistics.

The unemployment rate dropped in Baltimore City and the state's 21 remaining counties, the statistics showed.

Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent, from 4.6 percent in July to 4.3 percent in August.

The state's jobless rate was 4.6 percent in August 1996.

Nationwide, the jobless rate declined 0.2 percent, from 5 to 4.8 percent.

The national jobless rate was 5.1 percent in August 1996.

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