Cold, layoffs boost Md. jobless rate

March 05, 1994|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland's unemployment rate jumped sharply in January, as layoffs from Christmas-season jobs and the cold winter weather pushed the state jobless rate to 6.4 percent from December's 5.8 percent.

State officials said unemployment rose by 16,430 people in January, bringing the total out of work in Maryland to more than 170,000 workers.

But a bright side in the unemployment rate, they said, is that fewer workers than normal left the work force after giving up hope of finding a job soon. When people stop looking for work, they are no longer counted in the unemployment figures.

"We think because the job picture is more encouraging, people who were laid off from retail trade or construction jobs may have stayed in the labor force, thinking they have a pretty good chance of finding a job," said Marilyn Corbett, a spokeswoman for Maryland's Department of Economic and Employment Development.

If seasonal variations like post-Christmas retail layoffs and a dip in construction are factored in, the state's seasonally adjusted rate rose only 0.2 percent to 6.2 percent in January.

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