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Unemployment down in September, but still high

Data is starting to catch up with what's been seen in Harford County — unemployment is slowly falling, Director of Economic Development Jim Richardson said.

Harford's unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent in September to 7.1 percent, the lowest unemployment has been since May. This means 9,394 people were without jobs in a workforce of 132,443.

"While we may have the same number of unemployed people in Harford County, we have a larger workforce," Richardson pointed out.

September is typically one of the lowest months for unemployment because of seasonal trends, as students who may have had summer jobs have gone back to school.

Unemployment in the county is still lower than the national and state rates, at 9.1 and 7.2 percents, respectively. Rates for the Baltimore-Towson area also fell slightly to 7.6 percent in September, while Cecil County's rate drastically fell in September to 8.2 percent from 9.3 percent in August.

While Richardson commented he still doesn't understand "how our number remains that high," he said that the recent crop of retailers in the county has been a huge help in creating jobs.

"I think we picked up several job creators, such as Wegmans and Kohl's, that have also picked up a number of people," he said. Seasonal work opportunities will also make an impact, but only if residents take advantage of them, Richardson added. "Kohl's will look at many of their seasonal employees and [possibly] make them permanent."

While the stats do bring a sense of hope, Richardson says the numbers are nowhere near where they should be.

"We need to work harder and do more and try to create more jobs," he said. "We're certainly in a new world today."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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