County jobless rate tops 7%

January 30, 2009

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County's unemployment continued to climb last month, with almost 500 more people out of work than the month before.

The county's unemployment rate in December was 7.4 percent, up from 6.7 percent in November, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The December 2008 rate was up about 72 percent from December 2007.

The county's unemployment rate in December 2008 remained at a nearly 13-year high. The last time it was more than 7 percent was February 1996, when it was 7.7 percent.

The previous month, January 1996, the rate was 9.3 percent.

From April 1997 to January 2008, the county's unemployment rate was below 5 percent for 108 of 130 months.

It broke 5 percent in February 2008 and 6 percent in October 2008.

In December 2008, the last month for which figures are available, there were 5,091 unemployed people in Washington County out of a labor force of 69,080.


In mid-December, Peter Thomas, executive director of the Western Maryland Consortium, a regional work-force development agency, said his organization was the busiest it had been in a very long time.

The consortium partners with local One Stop Job Centers to provide job search assistance, résumé development, Internet access and career information to unemployed workers.

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