Metro-area jobless rates show little change in March

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Unemployment in Virginia’s metro areas largely remained unchanged in March.

The Virginia Employment Commission reported on Wednesday that, in comparison to February’s results, March jobless rates showed no change in seven of 11 metropolitan statistical areas.

The VEC numbers are not seasonally adjusted, meaning they do not account for seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.

Unemployment rose by one-tenth of a percentage point in two metro areas, Harrisonburg and Northern Virginia, while falling by the same sliver of a percentage point in two others, Lynchburg and Winchester.

The VEC numbers in all metro areas were down significantly in March compared to the same month last year. The New River Valley area, for example, saw its jobless rate fall from 5.1 percent in March 2017 to 3.4 percent in March 2018.

Northern Virginia continued to have the lowest unemployment rate this March, 2.8 percent, followed closely by Charlottesville at 2.9 percent and Winchester at 3 percent.

No area recorded a jobless rate above 3.8 percent.

Virginia’s unemployment rate for March 2018 was 3.3 percent. The national rate for the month was 4.1 percent.

A breakdown of the Virginia metro-area numbers shows:

Bristol: 3.7 percent in March, unchanged from February.
Charlottesville: 2.9 percent, unchanged.
Hampton Roads: 3.6 percent, unchanged.
Harrisonburg: 3.3 percent, up from 3.2 percent.
Lynchburg: 3.8 percent, down from 3.9 percent.
New River Valley: 3.4 percent, unchanged.
Northern Virginia: 2.8 percent, up from 2.7 percent.
Richmond: 3.5 percent, unchanged.
Roanoke: 3.4 percent, unchanged.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 3.1 percent, unchanged.
Winchester: 3 percent, down from 3.1 percent.

At 2.2 percent, Arlington continued to have the lowest unemployment rate of any Virginia city or county. It was followed by Falls Church at 2.3 percent and Alexandria at 2.5 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, Northampton County on the Eastern Shore had the highest jobless rate, 7.2 percent, followed by Buchanan County at 7 percent and Petersburg at 6.8 percent.

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