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Jobless rate falls in September

November 06, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Washington County's jobless rate was down more than half a percentage point in September, according to preliminary numbers released Friday from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

But the drop - from 4.3 percent in August to 3.6 percent in September - reflects a large number of people leaving the job market, not substantial employment gains, according to a local labor official.

It's a normal scenario for the time of year, said Shanon S. Wolf, manager of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation's Hagerstown office.

Summer jobs are ending, schools are reopening and retail hiring begins for the fall season, Wolf said.

The number of people employed in the county dropped from 69,274 in August to 68,207 in September, according to the figures.

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But the number of people in the civilian labor force decreased even more, from 72,377 in August to 70,785 in September, according to the figures.

The pattern was similar statewide and nationally, with both the number of people employed and the number of people in the work force down, according to the figures.

The jobless rate in Frederick County, Md., was down slightly, from 2.8 percent in August to 2.7 percent in September.

Statewide, the jobless rate dropped from 4.6 percent in August to 4.3 percent in September.

Nationally, the jobless rate declined from 4.5 percent in August to 4.4 percent in September.

Washington County's jobless rate this September was down 8/10ths of a percent from September 1997, when it was 4.4 percent.

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