The county's unemployment rate dropped by one-half percent in August, the state reported.
Another good piece of economic news came from the Carroll Office of Economic Development, which last week received calls from eight companies interested in locating or expanding in the county.
A state analyst cautioned, however, that jobless rate decline maynot necessarily signal an upswing in the local economy. The decline probably can be attributed to a decrease in the size of the county's work force, said Patrick Arnold, director of labor market analysis and information for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.
DEED released unemployment numbers Friday.
In Carroll, the jobless rate was 4.5 percent in August, the latest month for which number are available. The rate was 5.1 percent in July.
A yearago in August, the rate was 3.6 percent, DEED numbers show.
Statewide, the jobless rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent.
Nationally, in September, the rate was 6.7 percent, down from 6.8 percent in August. (National numbers are one month ahead of Maryland statistics.)
The labor force usually decreases in late summer because people return to school full-time, Arnold said.
Carroll's civilian labor forcedeclined by 1,441 people, the state reported. In July, 65,998 peoplewere in the county's work force; in August, the number was 64,557.
The number of unemployed people declined by 459, DEED reported. In July, 3,335 people didn't have jobs in the county; in August, 2,876 were unemployed.
The number of people in the county who were employed dropped, too -- by 962, numbers show. In July, 62,663 people were working; in August, the number dropped to 61,681.
"The labor market is very dynamic," Arnold said.
Statewide, a positive sign is that the number of manufacturing jobs increased by 4,400 in August, DEEDreported.
In Carroll, the prospect of new manufacturing and related jobs is good, one county official said.
Until last week, only 40 businesses this year had expressed an interest in locating or expanding in the county, said William E. Jenne, business development manager at the Office of Economic Development.
Last year at this time, the number was 60, he said.
Four of the companies that expressed interest last week need more than 50,000 square feet of space for distribution and manufacturing operations, Jenne said.
The companies would employ more than 100 people and would "be considered large employers in Carroll County," he said.
One of the other companies needsoffice space; the others need manufacturing facilities, Jenne said.
The county does not disclose the names of companies consider
ing locating or expanding here.
"My best indicator for what's happening with the economy is real estate brokers who work in the Baltimoreand Washington areas," Jenne said. "And there seems to be more confidence than there was a few months ago."
The unemployment rate in the Baltimore metropolitan area remained unchanged from July at 6.2 percent, DEED reported.
Baltimore's rate increased from 8.9 percent in July to 9 percent in August, the highest unemployment rate in the state, DEED said.