WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — COVID heavily impacted employment, but now Washington County — and specifically Hagerstown — is seeing unemployment numbers slowly drop.

“The good news is we’re under four and five percent in Hagerstown in Washington County unemployment,” President of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce Paul Frey said.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Washington County is currently seeing an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, a 10 percent decrease since 2021. Experts say this decrease is mostly due to businesses being able to open back up after the pandemic.

“They’ve had to be creative in some cases like restaurants have curb service,” Frey said. “A lot of our retail organizations like Home Depot and Lowe’s have curbside pickup, you can call ahead, and at restaurants, you can pick up without talking to anybody.”

But even with more people back in the workforce, there are some vocations still trying to return to pre-pandemic numbers.

“The service industry, hospitality, restaurants, hotels — and also health care and nursing are suffering as well,” Frey explained. “Anything to do with services, entry-level or slightly above entry-level positions are still behind the curve of being hired.”

Frey says with the help of city resources and the chamber of commerce, employment numbers will continue to rise and resemble the pre-pandemic workforce.

“There are resources here,” Frey said. “There are apprenticeships, there’s funding to help out and so if you’d have questions call the chamber.”

Statewide, about 88 percent of jobs have been recovered that were lost during the pandemic.