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Washington County jobless rate declined slightly in Feb.

April 01, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

The unemployment rate in Washington County fell slightly from 10.7 percent in January to 10.6 percent in February, although both the number of people working and those listed as jobless fell during the month, according to preliminary state figures released Friday.

The number of people working in the county fell from 60,479 to 60,086, a drop of nearly 400, while the number of jobless fell by 93 to 7,123, the report from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said.

Rob Ferree, the deputy director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, called the data “unexciting,” but noted the unemployment rate was an improvement over the February 2010 rate of 11.9 percent.

The number of people employed then was almost identical — 60,131 — but the number of unemployed was more than 800 people higher at 7,963, the report said.

The jobless rate from Hagerstown also showed a minor decrease in February, falling from 11.1 to 11 percent, the report said.

The information services, trade, transportation and warehousing, and administration and support employment categories showed gains for the month, Ferree said. Professional and business services employment, which includes temporary workers, fell, as did the catch-all miscellaneous category, he said.

Maryland’s jobless picture also improved in February as the rate fell from 7.5 percent to 7.3 percent, the DLLR report said. In February 2010 the state rate was 8.3 percent, the report said.

Washington County still ranks near the bottom among counties in Maryland, with only Somerset, Dorchester and Worcester counties having higher jobless rates. Worcester County had the highest at 17.8 percent in February.

Howard and Montgomery counties were tied for the lowest unemployment rate at 5.1 percent, the report said.

The national unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in February, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting Friday that the rate dipped to 8.8 percent in March.

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