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Jobless rate inches higher in November

January 02, 1998

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

Unemployment increased slightly in Washington County during November, according the most recent jobless data released Friday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The rate climbed to 4.2 percent in the month, from 4.1 percent in October, according to the state agency.

"Normally between October and November the rate will fluctuate up or down just a bit," said Shanon Wolf, manager of the agency's Hagerstown office.

The number of unemployed people in the county grew from 2,872 to 2,997 during that time, while the overall labor force dropped from 70,718 to 70,683.

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"There was nothing overly unusual," Wolf said.

The county increase came while unemployment statewide dropped slightly, from 4.6 percent in October to 4.5 percent in November, boosted by recalls in manufacturing and holiday hiring.

"These numbers reflect the strength of the state's economy and more importantly, they represent the people who are able to earn a living and support their family," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said in a written statement.

Glendening added that he was encouraged to see that unemployment was lower than the previous November, which posted a 4.6 percent jobless rate.

In addition to being lower than the state's unemployment rate, Washington County's rate also was the lowest of the three Western Maryland counties. Average unemployment for the region was 6.2 percent, up from 5.8 percent in October.

Western Maryland was hit by temporary layoffs in manufacturing and seasonal reductions in construction, according to the state agency.

Frederick County continued to post lower unemployment, with a 3 percent jobless rate in November, down from 3.2 percent in October.

Nationwide unemployment also dropped slightly, from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

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