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Washington County unemployment rate increases in January

March 14, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY — The number of people working in Washington County rose in January, but so did the number of people without jobs, as the unemployment rate increased from 10.3 percent in December to 10.6 percent in January, according to a preliminary report from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The number of people working in the county went from 59,720 to 60,493, an increase of 773, while the number listed as unemployed rose by 465 to 7,194, the report said. The number of people working in the county has increased three months in a row, the report said.

Still, that number is down from monthly averages above 65,000 people working in 2007, according to state figures.

Despite the increase, the employment picture is better than in January 2010, when the jobless rate was 11 percent and the number of people unemployed was 7,324. The number of people with jobs also increased by slightly more than 1,000 since January 2010, the report said.

“At least year over year, it showed improvement,” said Tim Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

He cited two reasons the jobless rate and the number of jobs went up.

“You probably had people with seasonal jobs working through Christmas who lost their jobs,” Troxell said of the higher unemployment figure. At the same time, “it appears there are more people looking for work and more people being hired,” he said.

The report showed the jobless rate in Hagerstown went from 10.8 percent in December to 11.3 percent in January, the report said. The number of people working was up 267 to 16,783, and the number of unemployed rose 133 to 2,133, the report said.

One area showing a decrease in employment was the private providers sector, Troxell said. That includes hairdressers, manicurists and others who provide personal services to customers, he said.

Maryland’s unemployment rate for January was 7.5 percent, up from 7.4 percent in December, the report said. The national jobless rate for that month was 9 percent, the report stated.

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