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Jobless rate dips in March

April 27, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Washington County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in March, according to preliminary estimates from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The decrease from February's 5.1 percent unemployment rate was due largely to the number of people leaving the labor force because they were unemployed and no longer looking for work, said Bill Kelly, job service supervisor for the Labor Department's Hagerstown office.

For the purpose of government accounting, the civilian labor force is defined as including people who are employed and people who are unemployed but actively searching for work.

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From February to March, 586 people left the county's civilian labor force, according to data released last Thursday from the Labor Department. The labor force consisted of 71,713 people in March, compared with 72,299 in February.

The number of unemployed residents in the county decreased by 452 people to 3,216 people in March.

The employment rolls also shrank, from 68,631 workers in February to 68,497 workers in March.

In Frederick County, Md., the unemployment rate declined from 3.3 percent in February to 2.9 percent in March. Statewide, the jobless rate remained at 4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate remained at 6 percent.

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