The number of unemployed Harford County residents is slowing decreasing this year, although it remains higher than pre-recession rates.

In May, the most recent month for which statistics are available from the state, 7 percent of Harford County residents were unemployed.

That is slightly less than the 7.4 percent rate for May 2010, and is consistent with numbers going down a bit for each month of this year.

It means an average of 9,498 residents are unemployed so far in 2011. The average number of unemployed for all of 2010 was 9,910.


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It also puts Harford in line with a trend throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. The average rate for the region through May 2011 is 7.4 percent.

The county's rate is the third-highest of the seven counties identified as the Baltimore-Towson Metropolitan Statistical Area. Baltimore City's is the highest at 10.1 percent and Baltimore County's is 7.6 percent. Neighboring Cecil County, which is not considered part of the Baltimore area, was also higher at 9.4 percent.

The declining unemployment rate seems to be in line with a prediction made by economic development director Jim Richardson earlier this year, who said he expected the job numbers to improve as major employers such as Kohl's and Wegmans started hiring.