Jobless rate edged up to 4.1% in June

August 07, 1994|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,Sun Staff Writer

The unemployment rate in Carroll County made its traditional June rise, but the small size of the increase -- from 3.9 percent to 4.1 percent -- is in fact a sign of the economy's strength, state officials said Friday.

Employment in the county actually went up by about 750 jobs in June, from 63,941 to 64,693. But nearly 900 people entered the civilian labor force during the month, accounting for the slight rate increase.

The civilian labor force figure represents the number of people who are employed plus the number who are actively looking for work.

"That's kind of typical for June," said Marco K. Merrick, spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development. "What you see is an influx of students looking for summer employment. And there are a lot of high school graduates out looking for their first jobs."

As of June, Carroll had the lowest unemployment rate of any of the six counties in the Baltimore metropolitan area, which also includes Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne's counties.

The slight increase in the county mirrored an increase statewide from 5.3 percent to 5.6 percent. That increase also came despite a net gain of about 35,000 in the number of people employed.

"With that new group of job-seekers, the unemployment rate usually goes up sharper," Mr. Merrick said. "But that didn't happen here, and that's good news."

The 4.1 percent unemployment rate in Carroll County is a significant improvement from June 1993, when joblessness hit 5.7 percent. Theodora Stephen, manager of the Department of Economic and Employment Development's Carroll County office, said she is spending more time this year helping people look for jobs and less processing unemployment claims.

"I believe it is a result of the diversity of business here," Ms. Stephen said. "If you're dependent on one or two companies, you're stuck if you have a downsizing. But, luckily, in Carroll we've got a lot going on.

"Most of the employers in the county are hiring," she said.

Around Maryland, new hiring came in an unexpected area -- manufacturing. Mr. Merrick said June saw the largest increase in factory jobs in the state since 1992.

But in Carroll County, Ms. Stephen said, most new jobs were in retail, restaurants and other service industries.

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