Unemployment Rate Takes First Dip In Seven Months

May 05, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

After seven months of increasing or holding steady, the county's unemployment rate fell in March.

The jobless rate for March was 6.6 percent in Carroll, down 0.8 percent from February, state figures released Friday show.

More businesses have been looking for workers since about the third week of March, said Theodora Stephen, manager of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development office in Westminster.

"In January and February, it bottomed out, and in March, all of a sudden, it was like somebody turned the water on," she said.

Mainly service industries have been looking for employees, she said. Hiring in construction-related areas hasn't picked up much yet, she added.

Restaurants, department stores and trucking companies have come to DEED for help finding workers, Stephen said. Sales and clerical jobs also have been posted, she said.

The decline in the county's unemployment rate is welcome, she said.

From August through October, therate was unchanged at 3.3 percent. From November to February, the rate increased steadily from 4.5 percent to 7.4 percent.

The Maryland jobless rate also declined in March, the most recent month for which figures are available. In February, the state number was 6.5 percent; in March it fell to 6 percent.

The unemployment rate usually decreases every year in March, said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information for DEED.

"As the weather warms, the economy warms up," he said.

But this year, because the state andnation are in a recession, Arnold said he looks at the decrease "as a piece of good news."

If the recession still was in full swing, the state may not have seen the normal seasonal decrease, he said.

April unemployment figures for the state should show an additional seasonal decrease, Arnold said. The national rate for April, released Friday, unexpectedly improved for the first time since last May, falling 0.2 percent to 6.6 percent.

In Westminster, auto parts manufacturer Marada Industries Inc. has seen an increase in work orders in the last two weeks, the general manager said.

"Sales are picking up," Kenneth B. Jacobs said.

The company had expected sales to be 10 percent off the projected goal for fiscal 1991, he said. But because of the recent increase in orders, sales probably will be off 7 percent for the year, he said.

Marada employs 189 people, Jacobs said.

John F. Gambatese, senior vice president at Random House Inc. in Westminster, the county's largest private employer, said he is not hiring now, but will be in late June.

Random House, which stores booksand distributes them around the world, experiences a busy season every summer, he said.

The company will hire about 100 people in lateJune who will work through November, he said.

The company employsabout 1,200 people.

In March in the county, 4,189 people were unemployed, state figures show. In February, that number was 4,686.

The unemployment rate declined in March in every county, except Baltimore where it held steady, state numbers show.

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