Unemployment in the District and in Maryland dropped slightly from October to November, falling from 11.1 percent to 10.8 percent in the District and from 8 percent to 7.7 percent in Maryland.
Unemployment in the Washington metropolitan area, which overlaps the two jurisdictions and also includes Virginia, also edged downward from 6.9 percent in October to 5.7 percent in November.
In Maryland, officials attributed the improvement to seasonal hiring in retail trade and education and unseasonal hiring in construction triggered by falling interest rates. In addition, layoffs in manufacturing and service jobs, which have taken a heavy toll in Baltimore, slowed down, state officials said.
In Washington, the biggest factor was an increase of 2,500 D.C. government jobs, including the rehiring of 1,200 public school workers who had been fired in October and were rehired in November. Matthew Shannon, director of the city's employment services, said that the workers involved have year-to-year appointments and traditionally are let go in October and rehired in November as the school budget allows.
There was real improvement in the number of service jobs, which increased by 800, Shannon noted.
"We've probably bottomed out and are beginning to recover very slowly. We hope that this decline signals a continuing trend or a leveling off of high unemployment rates in the District in 1982," he said.
Even with the slight decline, unemployment in the District was substantially higher in November than a year ago, when it was 9.2 percent in contrast to 10.8 percent.
In Maryland, the contrast was less marked as unemployment fell from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent.
In the Baltimore metropolitan area, the jobless rate fell from 9.4 percent in October to 8.9 percent. In Baltimore City, the rate also declined, from 11.3 percent to 10.6 percent, according to figures from the Maryland Department of Human Resources.
Unemployment rose in western Maryland and in some counties on the Eastern Shore. Garrett County in western Maryland had the highest jobless rate at 17.8 percent, up from 16.7 percent.
In contrast to D.C. and Maryland, Virginia reported earlier this month that unemployment increased from 7.8 in October to 8.1 percent in November.