Carroll jobless rate drops to 4.3% in September Sharp decline began in August

November 07, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Carroll County's unemployment figure dropped a full percentage point in September, the second decrease in a row, state officials said Friday.

The 4.3 percent figure, down from 5.3 percent in August, was the lowest unemployment rate in the Baltimore metropolitan region. County unemployment was at 6.1 percent in July.

Howard County's rate in September was the second-lowest in the Baltimore region at 4.5 percent.

"A drop of one whole percentage point is a favorable sign," said Marco Merrick, public information officer for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.

A decrease in Carroll County's civilian labor force combined with increase in employment caused the significant drop, Mr. Merrick said.

The civilian labor force, or the number of people working added to the number of people actively looking for work, dropped from 67,540 in August to 67,196 in September.

Employment rose from 63,984 in August to 64,277 in September, state statistics showed. The number of Carroll County people receiving unemployment insurance dropped from 3,556 to 2,919.

"There were a lot of recalls in September, particularly in education," Mr. Merrick said. "Not only teachers and school administrators, but cafeteria workers, maintenance people and transportation employees returned to work -- anything that would be affected by the opening of school."

Mr. Merrick also said the two-month, steady drop could mean that hiring is up in Carroll County.

"A number of areas have seen an increase in labor hours," he said. "Carroll County could be one of those areas."

Employers often increase the hours current employees work just before hiring new people, Mr. Merrick said.

William E. Jenne, administrator for Carroll County's economic development office, agreed that there had been several business relocations and expansions in the past few months.

"A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs have opened places [in the county]," he said. "With the small business growing and some minor employment expansions with some of Carroll's larger employers, it appears hiring is taking place in all segments of the local economy."

But Mr. Jenne said he hadn't expected the low unemployment rate and its rapid drop.

"Given the concern that is still apparent in the business community about the national economy, I'm surprised that Carroll County's numbers are as low as they are," he said. "A rate of 4.3 percent is arguably full employment in the eyes of most economists.

"This reflects not only Carroll County's success in weathering this prolonged recession, but indirectly the greater Baltimore region that provides employment opportunities to half of the county."

Unemployment for the Baltimore metropolitan area dropped from percent in August to 7.2 percent in September.

Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 percent in August to 6.2 percent in September.

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