County unemployment falls Maryland rate rises


Businesses are hiring again in Carroll County, causing the unemployment rate to fall from 4.3 percent in April to 4 percent in May, the last month for which figures are available.

The rest of the state and the Baltimore area were not so fortunate. Unemployment rose from 5.2 percent in April to 5.3 percent in May statewide.

In the Baltimore metropolitan area, unemployment went from 6.1 percent to 6.4 percent. In all metropolitan counties except Carroll and Queen Anne's, the rate went up.

The brighter picture in Carroll could be due to a diverse economy, said Theodora Stephen, manager of the Westminster office of the Department of Economic and Employment Development.

"We're not a county that has just one big employer," she said. Most of the increase in jobs has been in retail, sales and service jobs, she said.

She said her office has been busy with requests from employers posting jobs, a refreshing change from having it the other way around -- more seekers than employers.

"We're not busy in the unemployment end, but we are busy in our job-service end," Ms. Stephen said.

"We've just seen a surge up here where local employers are concerned. We had a job fair back here in June and, my heavens, it seemed like we had so many employers that needed people.

"That's just such a difference from the last five years," she said. "We've been in a recession."

Ms. Stephen said the county is seeing more house sales, more car sales and more general economic activity.

In Carroll County, the number of people employed went from 63,634 in April to 63,959 in May. The number of unemployed in the county dropped from 2,828 in April to 2,647 in May.

Statewide, a seasonal increase in the number of job seekers caused the unemployment rate to rise slightly. However, employment also rose, reaching a record high for May. With a seasonal adjustment factored in, the statewide unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.4 percent for May. The national unemployment rate fell from 6.2 percent in April to 5.9 percent in May.

As semesters ended in May for some schools, about 17,700 new job seekers, most probably students and other summer workers, entered the labor market in Maryland.

Of those new job seekers, 13,324 found employment, raising the number of employed people in the state to 2.5 million.

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