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Baltimore County Has Most Jobless Claims In State During COVID

Associated Press/Jeff Chiu, File

This is a Labor Day like no other, with millions of people out of work due to the COVID-19 economy.

In Maryland, Baltimore County has had more people filing for unemployment during the pandemic than any other locality. According to the Maryland Department of Labor, from March through August, more than 93,000 people filed jobless claims in the county.

Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties have more people than Baltimore County, but fewer of them are filing for unemployment. Officials say that’s because those counties are closer to Washington, D.C. and more of their residents can rely on government jobs.

From March through August, Montgomery County recorded around 80,000 jobless claims, Prince Georges about 75,000.

Chris McCollum, Acting Director for Baltimore County’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development, said the jobless figures don’t tell the whole story. He said they are starting to see jobs return.

McCollum said, “Even some of those industries like arts and entertainment, recreation, accommodations, all those, and retail that would be impacted significantly are actually starting to add jobs back.”

With that said, Daraius Irani, chief economist for the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University, said forecasts are for there to be 200,000 fewer jobs in Maryland in three years than there were at the beginning of the pandemic.

“Until people feel safe, it’s going to be a challenge for the economy to fully recover,” Irani said.

As the pandemic stretches into its sixth month, McCollum said it’s to be expected that some people not finding work get discouraged.

“Any time that people are out of a job for an extended period of time, of course fatigue sets in, stress sets in,” McCollum said. “The good thing is that Baltimore County has a fairly resilient economy overall.”

Baltimore County’s three in-person job centers remain closed due to COVID. McCollum said they plan to reopen them in October with reservations required.

In the meantime, McCollum said Baltimore County has a virtual workforce career center you can access at any time to get help finding a job. There you will find recorded programs with tips on the job search. You also are able to reach out for personal help.

“They can go on Baltimore County’s website or email [email protected] and you can connect with a consultant one-to-one for resume and job search assistance,” McCollum said.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.
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