The county's unemployment rate remained unchanged from August to September, a period when it usually shrinks, a state labor analyst said.
The steady rate could signal a decline in the county's private-sector economy, said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.
Carroll's jobless rate for September, the latest month for which figures are available, was 3.3 percent, state figures show.
The jobless rate usually declines from August to September because students are going back to school and educational workers are returning to their jobs, Arnold said.
In Carroll, the unemployment rate declined two of the last four years in those months, he said. It remained steady at 2.7 percent in September 1988 and increased by .1 percent in 1986, he said.
This year, the normal decline may have been offset by a weakened economy, Arnold said.
In 1989, the September unemployment rate in Carroll was 2 percent.
This year in September, Carroll had 2,091 unemployed residents, compared to 2,101 in August, DEED figures show.
The civilian labor force in the county decreased during that period by 590 workers, the state reports.
The jobless rate in the state also was unchanged this year in September, the third consecutive month it's registered at 4.5 percent, DEED says.
The state labor force dropped by 22,890 people, mostly because of seasonal factors such as students returning to school, DEED reports. The number of unemployed decreased by 726 in September.
Unemployment declined in printing, industrial machinery and electronics equipment industries, DEED says. The national softening in the housing market led to lower state employment in the construction and real estate industries, the state reported.
The U.S. unemployment rate also remained steady in September at 5.4 percent, but rose by .3 percent in October. U.S. Labor Department figures are a month ahead of state numbers.
Jobless trends in Maryland were mixed during September, DEED reports.
Unemployment rates remained unchanged in the Baltimore metropolitan area at 4.9 percent and on the Eastern Shore at 5.4 percent. In Harford County, the rate dropped from 4.4 percent in August to 4.0 percent as summer workers left the job market, the state says.