By DON AINES
7:58 PM EDT, August 24, 2012
The unemployment rate fell in Washington County from 8.8 percent in June to 8.5 percent in July as both the number of people employed and unemployed decreased, according to preliminary figures released Friday by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
The June number had been revised upward from the 8.7 percent jobless rate in the preliminary report for that month.
The newest report showed the number of people working fell from 63,562 to 63,317. It also showed a drop of 197 in the number of unemployed to 5,916.
The labor force — the combined number of people employed and seeking work — was also down, decreasing by 442 people to 69,233, according to the report.
In July 2011, the jobless rate in Washington County was 9.8 percent, the report said. The rate for 2012 to date has averaged 8.8 percent, according to the report.
April had the lowest unemployment rate for 2012 in the county at 8.2 percent. The high was 9.5 percent in February.
Washington County ranked 20th in unemployment among the state’s 23 counties. Montgomery County had the lowest rate at 5.2 percent, while Baltimore City ranked last at 11.1 percent, the report said.
Hagerstown’s jobless rate ticked up in July to 10.4 percent from 10.3 percent in June, the report said. The number of unemployed people went up by three to 1,998, while the number of people working was down by 66 to 17,241, it said.
Maryland’s unemployment rate dipped from 7.2 percent to 2.1 percent, the report said. The national jobless rate was 8.3 percent in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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