Local work force gaining strength

October 21, 1997


Staff Writer

More people are working in Washington County, and they are doing so at more businesses, according to employment data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During 1995, the most recent year for which the federal agency has employment statistics available, there were 48,714 people working at county businesses - a 6.5 percent increase over 1994.

The rise was likely the result of few layoffs during the year and various job expansions at local employers such as Phoenix Color Corp. and Citicorp Credit Services, said Sharon Disque, economic development coordinator for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.


She said the availability of jobs in the county was even better in 1996, when more businesses expanded.

"Next year's numbers from the (government) will probably be even greater," Disque said.

The jump in county employment was slightly behind the statewide increase of 6.6 percent during the 1994-95 period.

The statistics include commuters from other counties and states who work in the county. But the figures do not include most government employees or self-employed people.

The county ranked 10th among the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City in both the number of employees and the number of businesses. From 1994 to 1995, the number of businesses in the county grew from 3,064 to 3,106, a 1.4 percent increase.

The statewide increase for businesses was 1.6 percent during the same time, according to the government data.

Neighboring Frederick County had 4,241 businesses in 1995, up 1.6 percent from 4,174 in 1994. The county's number of employees grew 4.7 percent, from 55,233 to 57,817.

Washington County ranked ninth in the state in annual payroll, with local workers being paid more than $1 billion in 1995, up from $991 million in 1994.

In Frederick County, the annual payroll climbed from $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion.

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