Northrop Grumman, Kongsberg Automotive closures add to woe
By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun
August 8, 2010 www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-western-maryland-layoffs-20100808,0,6561796.story
Two well-paying blue-collar employers in Washington County are shuttering their businesses, adding to the woes of this Western Maryland county that already has a jobless rate among the highest in the state.
The soaring unemployment rate is a painful step back for a county that has tried in recent years to diversify its economy and attract new, high-technology businesses to the area. Known as "Hub City," Hagerstown has been at the center of a regional economy for years, with its highway connections and rail lines offering trucking and distribution companies easy access.
But over the past three years, the weakening economy has bled the Hagerstown area of jobs, mainly related to construction and manufacturing. In 2006, Washington County's unemployment rate averaged about 4.4 percent. In June, it stood at more than 10 percent and has been as high as nearly 12 percent this year, while the state's hovers just above 7 percent.
And just this past week, the county was reeling from news that two employers — a Northrop Grumman airplane maintenance facility and auto parts maker Kongsberg Automotive — plan to close, putting more than 100 people out of work…. www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-western-maryland-layoffs-20100808,0,6561796.story
[20100808 Sun Sentementes Western Md hit harder by recession]