Carroll joblessness stable at 3.9%

November 06, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County's unemployment rate remained stable at 3.9 percent from August to September, a period that state economic development officials said usually shows an increase in joblessness.

Statewide, the unemployment rate rose slightly, from 5.1 percent in August to 5.2 percent in September, said Marco Merrick, spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.

"Even though the unemployment rate went up, it's not a drastic increase," he said Friday. "This is the norm, and it's a good norm because it's not as significant as it could be."

Carroll County's steady unemployment rate -- the lowest in the Baltimore metropolitan area -- probably was caused by a smaller number of jobs in September coupled with a slightly shrinking labor force, Mr. Merrick said.

The civilian labor force is the sum of people seeking work and people employed.

August's civilian labor force was 68,488 people, compared with 68,465 in September; the employment figure was 65,820 in August, compared with 65,781 in September.

Claims for unemployment insurance rose slightly, from 2,668 people in August to 2,684 in September.

"There was probably a check and balance effect," Mr. Merrick said. "The labor force only decreased by 23 people. This shows some stability in the labor force, as well as in employment."

Helen Utz, executive director of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, said the steady figure also shows the wide variety of businesses in Carroll County.

"We have such a diverse economy," she said. "We're not dependent on one or two large industries cutting back and making a tremendous impact."

A strong work ethic among Carroll County employees also is responsible for the county's low unemployment rate, said Paul Denton, chairman of the county Economic Development Commission.

"There are a lot of good things happening in Carroll and a lot of good people," said Mr. Denton, noting that the national unemployment rate is about 2 percentage points higher than Carroll's.

"I think it says a lot about the business climate in Carroll County.

"We've certainly come back, considering where we were at recession time two or three years ago."

Unemployment nationwide dropped from 5.9 percent in August to 5.6 percent in September, according to DEED statistics.

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