Unemployment rate in Montgomery County rises more than three times the rate in the first quarter of the year

Unemployment rate in Montgomery rises to 8.9% in May

More than 123,500 people have filed initial jobless claims in county since early March

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Montgomery County had an unemployment rate of 8.9% in May — more than three times the rate in the first quarter of the year, according to the Maryland Department of Labor.

In April, the county had an unemployment rate of 8.4%, reflecting, for the first time, a sharp shift in the economy amid the fallout of COVID-19.

The county had unemployment rates of 2.8%, 2.9% and 2.8% in March, February and January, respectively.

The May rate is the most recent one available. The state usually releases the unemployment rate several weeks after the end of a month.

Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped slightly from 9.8% in April to 9.7% in May.

Montgomery County had the eighth lowest rate among the state’s jurisdictions. The jurisdictions with the highest rates in May are Worcester County (18.7%), Wicomico County (11.8%), Allegany County (11.7%) and Baltimore city (11.1%).

Last week, 3,525 people filed initial jobless claims in Mongomery County — a 0.4% increase from the week before, according to the latest figures, which the state posted Thursday morning. It was the first time initial claims increased in three weeks.

The small increase followed decreases of 28%, 10% and 23% in weeks before. Those were preceded by an increase in one week of 10%.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, 123,533 people have filed initial unemployment claims in the county.

Montgomery County had the fourth highest number of initial claims filed last week, behind Prince George’s County (5,969), Baltimore city (5,233) and Baltimore County (4,740).

Of the claims filed in Montgomery County last week, 2,099 were regular claims and 1,426 were filed through two federal programs — Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation.

Across the state, 66,559 unemployment claims were filed — a 19% increase in a week.

On July 2, the state Labor Department announced that more than 96% of unemployment claims were processed.

Between March 9 and June 27, more than $3.6 billion has been paid in regular and federal program benefits.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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