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Washington County jobless rate jumped to 9.4% in Jan

labor force grew by 2,800

City of Hagerstown saw 10.5% unemployment in Jan.

March 22, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County unemployment rates, January 2012 through January 2013.
Herald-Mail

The first unemployment report for Washington County in 2013 shows the jobless rate rose from 8.9 percent in December to 9.4 percent in January as the labor force added more than 2,800 people, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The number of people in the labor force — the combination of people working and seeking employment — rose from 69,060 in December to 71,893, the nonseasonally-adjusted report said. The number of people working was up from 62,907 in December to 65,155 in January, an increase of 2,248, the report said.

The number of people listed as unemployed was up by 585 to 6,738, the report said.

This report came after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its annual benchmark revisions, based on a broader survey of employment and unemployment than the sample-based monthly surveys.

The preliminary figures show the jobless rate is at its highest point since it registered 9.5 percent in February 2012. In January 2012, the rate was 9.2 percent, the report said.

“It’s an anomaly,” Washington County Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said of the numbers, due in part to the benchmark revision.

On Tuesday the Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on lowering the county’s excise tax on new construction, Callaham said.

“I know construction is still one of our problematic areas,” Callaham said. With construction season soon to get under way in earnest that could spur employment in that industry, she said.

Washington County ranked 16th among Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City for unemployment, the report said. Howard County was the lowest at 5 percent and Worcester County had the highest jobless rate at 18.1 percent, the report said.

The City of Hagerstown’s January unemployment rate was 10.5 percent, the report said. That figure is unchanged from the rate the department reported in December.

Comparing the January report to December’s, the labor force in the city increased by about 700 to 19,833. The report stated the number of people working up by more than 600 to 17,751.

The number of jobless rose by 74 to 2,082, the report said.

The jobless rate for the county averaged 8.6 percent for all of 2012, the report said. Hagerstown  had an average jobless rate of 10.1 percent for the year, the report said.

Across Maryland, the report showed the nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbing from 6.6 percent in December to 7.2 percent in January. However, the state’s labor force and work force numbers were going in the opposite direction of Washington County, as both figures decreased during the month.

The seasonally-adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January and fell to 7.7 percent in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the nonseasonally adjusted rates were 8.5 percent in January and 8.1 percent in February, the bureau reported.

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