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Jobless rate drops

June 04, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Washington County's jobless rate dropped more than a percentage point in April, according to Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation figures released Friday.

The decrease, from 4.4 percent in March to 3.3 percent in April, can be attributed mainly to expected seasonal factors, including hiring for summer jobs and increased construction work, said Faye Gossert, a claims specialist at the labor department's Hagerstown office.

The county's jobless rate was at 3.9 percent in April 1998, according to labor department figures.

Employment in the county rose from 67,360 residents with jobs in March to 67,725 working residents in April, according to the figures.

Meanwhile, the civilian labor force shrank from 70,443 workers in March to 70,006 workers in April.

Frederick County's jobless rate dropped more than half a percentage point, from 2.7 percent in March to 2 percent in April, though fewer residents actually had jobs, according to labor department figures.

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In March, 97,207 Frederick County residents were working compared to 97,057 working in April, according to the figures.

However, there were nearly 900 fewer residents in the county's civilian labor force in April than there were in March, according to the figures.

Frederick County's jobless rate was 2.7 percent in April 1998.

While the statewide rate showed less of a drop than both counties - from 3.7 percent in March to 3.4 percent in April - it is down to the second-lowest level ever recorded for the state, said labor department spokeswoman Karen Napolitano.

It was down a full percentage point from April 1998 and more than half a percentage point below the national level, according to labor department figures.

Upturns in business services, agricultural services, hotels, heavy construction, garden supply stores and restaurants propelled job expansion in the state, according to the labor department's press release.

Statewide, 6,767 more residents had jobs in April than did in March, according to department figures.

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