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Washington Co. unemployment rate drops to 11.1 percent

April 23, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County's jobless rate for March was 11.1 percent, a decrease from February's adjusted rate of 11.9 percent, according to figures released Friday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

In Washington County, 7,509 members of the labor force were without jobs in March, the state website says. The labor force consisted of 67,532 people.

Tim Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said he believed the drop in the unemployment rate could be attributed to the warmer weather.

"It looks like we saw some improvement in construction," Troxell said. "When the weather gets nicer, it puts some of those people back to work."

Troxell said the hospitality and retail sectors of the local economy also experienced positive bumps.

Temp agencies reported that more people were placed in jobs in March than had been the month before, Troxell said.

"Hopefully, those will turn into full-time jobs," he said.

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Troxell said the local unemployment rate probably wouldn't decrease significantly in the near future because there are no major job-creation projects on the horizon.

Statewide, Washington County's unemployment rate in March was exceeded only by Dorchester County, at 11.7 percent, and Worcester County, at 16.5 percent, according to state labor statistics. Howard County had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.5 percent.

March's unemployment rate in Washington County was above the state and national averages, according to state labor statistics.

The unemployment rate in Maryland was 7.7 percent in March, compared to 8.2 percent in February.

The national unemployment rate in March remained unchanged at 9.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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