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Washington Co. jobless rate hits 9.6 percent in Oct.

November 30, 2009

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The unemployment rate in Washington County rose to 9.6 percent in October, according to figures released Monday morning.

The county's jobless rate rose by three-tenths of a percentage point from September's revised figure of 9.3 percent, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation reported. A preliminary report listed September's unemployment rate at 9.4 percent, but it later was adjusted downward.

Western Maryland Labor Exchange Administrator Suzette Snyder said the increase in unemployment in October reflected how county residents continue to lose their jobs.

"We're so busy now that it's hard for us to even see a change, because we're constantly having people in," Snyder said. "There's such an influx of people coming in or calling the office, we don't really notice an increase or a decrease."

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Snyder said she wished she had more positive news to report, but the need for jobs remains high, along with needs for other types of assistance such as housing and food.

"It's just such a sad time," she said. "Especially this time of year, it's such a difficult thing for people."

Timothy R. Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said he didn't know of any major commercial or industrial layoffs or closures that happened in October.

Troxell said it was possible that a decrease in work in the agricultural industry contributed to the increase in unemployment in October.

The Washington County unemployment rate remained higher than the statewide rate. Maryland's unemployment rate for October was 7.3 percent, up from 7.2 percent in September, the DLLR reported.

The county's jobless rate is below the national rate of 10.2 percent for October. The national jobless rate was the highest since April 1983, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The DLLR reported that 6,464 Washington County residents were unemployed in October, out of a total labor force of 67,198.

In September, there were 6,299 unemployed out of a total labor force of 67,725, according to state figures.

-- Heather Keels

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