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Virginia unemployment rate falls to a four-year low

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Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in December, its lowest level in four years.

The commonwealth’s jobless rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point from November’s rate of 5.6 percent, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Last month’s rate was the lowest since December 2008, when it stood at 5.3 percent. That was before the national recession caused widespread layoffs in Virginia in 2009.

Gov. Bob McDonnell greeted the report as “great news,” noting that the commonwealth has the second-lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River and the lowest rate in the Southeast.

December 2012 was the third month in a row that the rate has fallen. Before that, the unemployment had remained at 5.9 percent for three months. In December 2011, the jobless rate was 6.1 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 7.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted rate takes into account seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.

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