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County labor force down

January 05, 2001

County labor force down



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


Washington County's unemployment rate fell from October to November, but so did the number of people employed, according to estimates released Friday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The county's jobless rate fell from 3.6 in October to 2.9 percent in November, according to preliminary numbers. The unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in November 1999.

The labor department's official statement says "expansion in the labor force exaggerated employment declines" in Western Maryland, but Washington County's labor force actually got smaller.

Despite people continuing to enter the labor market for temporary jobs during the holiday season, the county's labor force shrank from 70,604 civilians in October to 69,834 people in November.

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The number of employed people in the county decreased from 68,096 in October to 67,821 in November, the department reported.

The decline is due in part to cold weather slowing down the construction industry, said Shanon Wolf, job service director for the Labor Department's Hagerstown office.

Also, seasonal hiring didn't have as big an impact in November because many people found seasonal jobs earlier than usual, in October, Wolf said. They may have found jobs faster last fall because of all the new retail stores in the area, she said.

Still, seasonal hiring helped.

The unemployment rolls in the county shrank by 495 people in November, falling more than the employment rolls.

In Washington County there were 2,013 unemployed people in November compared to 2,508 in October.

The jobless rate in Frederick County, Md., dropped slightly from 2 percent in October to 1.9 percent in November.

Statewide the unemployment rate remained at 3.5 percent, according to the labor department.

The state surpassed its previous record November high for employment by 38,650 jobs, finishing November with 2,758,792 workers.

Retailers reported more workers at general merchandise stores, apparel stores and specialty businesses such as card, book and jewelry stores, according to the state labor department.

Also, there were more jobs in hospitals and business services and in social and educational fields.

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