The Mottled Landscape of Unemployment

A dataset shows 51% of counties with unemployment rates below the national average in 2017, while individual rates portray the varied experience of labor successes.

The National Association of Counties County Explorer released a analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics from 2017. They found that on average, county unemployment rates were below the national unemployment rate.

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2017 labor statistics showing varying rates of unemployment across America’s counties.

Much reporting on the recovery from the Recession has described how pockets of the country have recovered more quickly than others – a picture often hidden by national statistics. County-level data helps to reveal economic realities that relate more closely to the experiences of many Americans.

The national average unemployment for 2017 was 4.4%.

For Maryland, the picture is varied.

  • Lower 2017 Unemployment Than the National Average (1.6% – 4.0%)
    • Howard, Anne Arundel, Talbot, Calvert, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Charles, Montgomery, Frederick, Carroll, Harford.
  • 2017 Unemployment Near the National Average (4.0% – 4.7%)
    • Washington, Baltimore County, Kent, Caroline, Prince George’s.
  • Greater 2017 Unemployment Than the National Average (4.7%-19.1%)
    • Garrett, Wicomico, Cecil, Allegany, Baltimore City, Dorchester, Worcester and Somerset counties.

Allegany, Baltimore City, Dorchester, Worcester and Somerset counties had the highest unemployment levels in the State in 2017, 5.7% or higher, according to the data.

The statistics use the following definitions (abridged):
  • Unemployment Rate: Number of persons unemployed as a percent of the labor force.
  • Population: All persons in the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older classified as either employed or unemployed.
  • Number Employed: Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job. Someone is considered employed if they:
    • did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or
    • had jobs from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.
  • Number Unemployed: Included are all persons who had no employment, and had made specific efforts to find employment.

For more information, visit NACo’s County Explorer.