Job prospects remain good in area

August 14, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - A slight increase in the monthly unemployment rate for Washington County likely reflects the number of people looking for summer work, a local official said.

According to Timothy R. Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, the job outlook still appears robust.

"It's been pretty much across the board, people looking to put a facility along the Interstate 70, I-81 corridor," Troxell said Wednesday.

According to figures released by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the county's unemployment rate increased from 4 percent in May to 4.4 percent in June.

The state's unemployment rate in June was 4.1 percent.

No numbers have been released yet for July.

For June 2005, the county's unemployment rate was 4.3 percent - just one-tenth of a point better than the most recent figure.


Troxell speculated on Wednesday that the rate might have increased because more people were looking to join the job market in June than in the previous month. From May to June, the size of the county's civilian labor force jumped by almost 800 people - from 69,488 to 70,270 - and the number of people employed also showed gains - from 66,686 to 67,176, according to the state figures.

Since June 2005, the number of people in the county's labor pool increased by more than 1,000, according to the state figures.

The work force numbers followed the trajectory of overall figures for the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, W.Va., region. Throughout the region and state, more people were in the labor force and more people were working in June than in May or the previous June.

In Washington County, 3,094 people were reported as unemployed in June - up from 2,802 in May. In the region, 5,358 people were reported as unemployed in June - up from 4,775 in May. The figures represented slight increases over the number of unemployed in June 2005, according to state data.

The region's 4.4 percent unemployment rate matched Washington County's, according to the state's data.

According to Troxell, companies across a range of industries, including manufacturing, biotechnology and logistics, have expressed plans to expand or relocate to the area. Job prospects likely will be good, he said.

"I would anticipate that the hiring - not the hiring, but the employment opportunities - for people are still strong," he said.

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