Small Steps Taken On The Area's Employment Ladder

Jobless Rate Remains Stable, Shows Some Sign Of Easing Up

August 07, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

Five months ago, Robert A. Weaver of Westminster was unemployed. Today, he has two jobs.

Others haven't been so lucky: The county's unemployment rate essentially has remained stable since April, figures from the state Department of Economic and Employment Development show.

Carroll's jobless rate declined from 5.4 percent in May to 5.2 percent in June, the latest month for which numbers are available, but it doesn't mean the economy is on an upswing, DEED officials said.

The rate declined mostly because the number of people looking for jobs decreased, said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information for DEED.

But because the number of people that left the labor force in Carroll was so small, the percentage decline inthe unemployment rate doesn't mean much, he said.

"It was essentially a stable situation," Arnold said.

Maryland's jobless rate rose from 5.8 percent in May to 6.0 percent in June, DEED reported.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped from 7 percent in June to 6.8 percent in July, the Labor Department said. U.S. figures are one month ahead of state and county numbers.

In Carroll, 147 fewer people were looking for jobs in June than were in May, state numbers show.

With numbers that small, analysts can't be sure the decline in the unemployment rate wasn't a statistical error that could be corrected next month, he said.

Carroll had no reports of large hirings or layoffs in June, Arnold said.

The number of people in the civilianlabor force in the county in May was 63,731; in June, the number was63,584, DEED numbers show.

Employment decreased by 20 people, from 60,309 in May to 60,289 in June, figures show.

The number of people unemployed in Carroll in May was 3,422, which was 127 more than were unemployed in June, DEED said.

A year ago in June, the county's unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, and the state's was 4.4 percent.

The county reached its highest unemployment rate this year in February, when it peaked at 7.4 percent. It was the highest since February 1984, when it hit 7.6 percent, DEED reported.

Weaver, 51, had been unemployed since January when he was laid off from a sales job inEldersburg. In mid-April, he began working part-time at the new Giant Food store in Westminster. Last week, he began working full-time for the county Board of Education as a custodian.

His wife, Heather,who has a clerical job in Eldersburg, said the family still is beingcautious about spending.

"We're just getting caught up" paying bills, she said.

William R. Rooney, director of personnel for the Board of Education, said the schools are in the midst of hiring teachers, custodians and food-service workers.

The county must staff two new schools that will open this fall, and needs workers to replace retirees and employees who have resigned, he said.

Arnold said a .2 percent change in the state's jobless rate means more than the same change in Carroll's rate because more people are involved.

The number of people unemployed in the state increased by 3,595 people, from 148,510 in May to 152,105 in June, DEED reported.

But officials see the increase as a positive sign because the rate has increased morethan that in past years because of seasonal factors, Arnold said.

"Since we had a smaller than normal increase, it's one more sign that that the recession is loosening its grip," he said.

The civilianlabor force in Maryland increased by 12,630 people, from 2,543,010 in May to 2,555,640 in June, DEED reported.

The number of people employed in the state increased by 9,035, from 2,394,500 in May to 2,403,535, the numbers show.

June is the fifth consecutive month that employment has expanded in the state, DEED said. Gains were seen in the food and food-related manufacturing sector and in eating and drinking outlets, hotels, amusements, health services and construction, the state said.

The Baltimore area's unemployment rate remained stable in June at 6.6 percent.

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