Harford unemployment rate still above 7 percent but more are working

Harford County's unemployment rate rose by a fraction in June, but seasonal hiring trends actually helped to push the number of county residents working to the highest level in almost two years.

The number of Harford County residents who were employed during June, 123,436, was actually the highest it has been since July 2009, according to Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation monthly labor market report figures. There were 122,702 Harford residents employed in May.

Although national news outlets have talked about unemployment rates improving, that does not seem to be the case yet in Harford or inMaryland.

The county's jobless rate at the end of June was 7.3 percent, higher than the 7 percent rate from May, because even though the number of people working and in the labor force as a whole increased, so did the number of people who were out of work.

The local market registered 496 more people as unemployed, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation monthly labor market report.

During June, 9,709 Harford County residents were out of work and actively looking for a job, according to the report, up from 9,313 in May.

There were 133,135 Harford County residents in the labor force in June, 2,000 more than in May, which is consistent with seasonal trends. The labor force typically expands in June and July as newly graduated students and summer job seekers enter.

The county's June 2011 unemployment rate was slightly lower than the 7.4 rate in June 2010, which was reflected in the higher number of people working this year.

Despite that year to year improvement, however, the local jobless rate has rarely broken out of the 7-percent range since 2009.

Average unemployment in Harford was 7.3 in 2009, 7.5 for 2010 and, so far, 7.2 in 2011.

That trend is again consistent with other area jurisdictions, which saw upticks of varying amounts.

Baltimore County's jobless rate rose from 7.4 in to 7.9 percent, Cecil County's went up from 7.9 to 9 percent, Carroll County's went from 5.9 to 6.4 percent and Baltimore City's went from 9.9 to 11 percent.

Howard County's June unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, up from 5.2 percent in May. Montgomery County's rate increased from 5.1 percent in May to 5.6 in June. Howard and Montgomery counties typically have the lowest local rates in the state.

The statewide unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in June, from 6.8 percent in May.

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