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Jobless rate declines to 4.6%

June 08, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Washington County's unemployment rate decreased to 4.6 percent in April despite some local manufacturers having brief operating shutdowns, a Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation official said Friday.

The county's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in March.

The number of people employed in Washington County in April actually decreased by 773 workers from 68,560 people in March to 67,787 people in April, according to preliminary estimates released Friday by the state labor department.

That drop was absorbed by the 1,290 people who left the labor force from March to April, allowing the unemployment rate to be lower, according to the labor department's monthly labor review statement.

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Shanon Wolf, the job service director for the labor department's local office, was out of the office on Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Bob Ruppenkamp, director of the Cumberland, Md., claims center for the labor department, said he did not know why the labor force population decreased in April.

The number of unemployed people in the county decreased by 517 people, to 3,301 people in April, according to preliminary estimates.

Ruppenkamp said 172 workers in the county were furloughed in April.

Hagerstown Lion Ribbon, formerly known as Maryland Ribbon, furloughed 140 workers from March 28 to April 11, Ruppenkamp said.

Berwick Offray temporarily laid off those workers at the ribbon manufacturing plant while inventory was done at the end of the company's fiscal year, said Nancy Schott, vice president of human resources for Berwick Offray in Berwick, Pa.

Also, Hadley Farms in Smithsburg furloughed 15 workers and Jamison Door Co. temporarily laid off 17 workers, Ruppenkamp said.

Such furloughs are typically done as companies work on equipment or shut down for vacation, Ruppenkamp said.

Frederick County's unemployment rate decreased from 3.4 percent in March to 3 percent in April, according to preliminary estimates.

Statewide, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.4 percent in March to 4.1 percent in April.

Seasonal hiring occurred in the leisure and hospitality industries, according to the monthly labor review.

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