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Jobless rate remains at 2.4 percent

August 31, 2000

Jobless rate remains at 2.4 percent



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


Washington County's unemployment rate held steady at 2.4 percent in July, according to preliminary numbers released Thursday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The jobless rate usually remains steady from June to July as students and other summer job seekers have already entered the job market, said Bill Kelly, Job Service supervisor with the Labor Department's local office.

Changes in summer unemployment rates generally don't occur until August when students start heading back to school, Kelly said. Even then the change is usually minimal because the labor force shrinks at the same time.

Washington County's jobless rate had begun climbing in May after hitting its lowest mark since at least 1980 in April at 2 percent.

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It rose from 2.1 percent in May to 2.4 percent in June as summer job seekers entered the labor force.

The 2.4 percent jobless rate is considerably lower than a year ago, when it was 3.1 percent in July 1999.

An estimated 1,664 people were unemployed in Washington County in July 2000. In June, 1,638 county residents were unemployed.

Statewide, Maryland completed a year of record-low monthly unemployment rates, spurring Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to hold a press conference in Annapolis Thursday afternoon.

The statewide unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in July, compared to 3.6 percent in June, according to the state labor department.

"One solid year of record-low unemployment is further evidence that more Marylanders than ever are working, enjoying greater opportunities and benefiting from the strongest economy in our state's history," Glendening said in a prepared statement.

Townsend attributed the low unemployment to the state increasing its investment in work force training, providing small and minority business assistance programs, and finding creative ways to attract new businesses, according to a prepared statement.

Unemployment rates dropped or held steady in 22 of the state's 24 local jurisdictions in July, according to the labor department.

The exceptions were jobless rate increases in Queen Anne's County on the Eastern Shore and in Harford County, where short-term manufacturing industry furloughs and cuts in education overcame seasonal hiring, the Labor Department said.

In Frederick County the unemployment rate dipped from 2 percent in June to 1.8 percent in July.

Nationwide the jobless rate remained steady in July at 4.2 percent.

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