Slow growth in summer jobs for students accounted for worsening unemployment statewide since May, but Carroll's jobless rate is still lower than state and national averages, reported the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.
For July, the last month for which figures are available, 3.6 percent of Carroll's labor force was unemployed, compared to 2.3 percent in July 1989.
The county's unemployment rate was 2.2 percent in May 1990 and had climbed to 3.5 percent by June, probably because of the influx of students and graduates into the job market, said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information for the state DEED.
The number of employed workers changed little in Carroll over those three months, from 61,918 in May to 61,829 in June and 62,645 in July.
But the county's labor force has increased over the summer. The force consists of the sum of all employed and all unemployed people looking and available for work. That sum for Carroll was 64,998 in July, compared to 64,079 in June and 63,334 in May.
Arnold attributed the increase to students and graduates entering the job market. Those students would not have been counted in the labor force in May if they had not been working or looking for work.
The state unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in July, up from a 3.9 percent rate in June and 3.3 percent for March, April and May. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent for July, 5.3 percent for June and 5.1 percent for May.
Arnold said the statewide increase, like that in Carroll, was due to slower growth in summer employment.
"It just seems that this year, Carroll County experienced in May and June what the state experienced in June and July," Arnold said.
"I don't see anything unusual going on. It may just be a bit more exaggerated in Carroll County. There's no evidence of any single employer laying off (significant numbers of) people," Arnold said.
He said Carroll may have felt the effect sooner and more acutely because of the large proportion of college students and graduates from Western Maryland College.
"That's a large school in a relatively small county," Arnold said.
He said the increase of one-tenth of a percent from June to July is "practically insignificant."
Statewide, unemployment rates for July ranged from 2.7 percent in Montgomery County to 9.9 percent in Somerset County.
In manufacturing, vacation shutdowns statewide reduced employment in apparel and textile industries, DEED reported, while construction jobs increased by 100. The closing of an appliance plant in Howard County cost an estimated 500 jobs.
For the Baltimore metropolitan area including Carroll County, the unemployment rate for July ranged from 2.9 percent for Howard County to 7.5 percent in Baltimore City.
The metropolitan area average was 5 percent, up from 4.3 percent in June and 3.6 percent in May and April.