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Unemployment dips in most Virginia metro areas

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Jobless rates in most of Virginia metro areas declined in December.

The Virginia Employment Commission reported on Wednesday that unemployment dropped in eight of the commonwealth’s 11 metropolitan statistical areas during the month.

The declines ranged from one-tenth to three-tenths of a percentage point.

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

Using that metric, Virginia’s unemployment rate for December was 2.6 percent, and the U.S. rate was 3.7 percent.

Only one metro area, Bristol, saw an increase in its jobless rate in December, up three-tenths of a point to 3.3 percent.

Bristol’s rate was the highest among the MSAs. Northern Virginia had the lowest figure, 2.1 percent.

In two other areas, Richmond and Hampton Roads, rates were unchanged at 2.8 and 3 percent, respectively.

Rates for December were under 3 percent in nine of the 11 metro areas.

Here’s a breakdown of the December numbers

Bristol: 3.3 percent in December, up from 3 percent in November.
Charlottesville: 2.2 percent, down from 2.4 percent.
Hampton Roads: 3 percent, unchanged.
Harrisonburg: 2.4 percent, down from 2.7 percent.
Lynchburg: 2.8 percent, down from 3 percent.
New River Valley: 2.6 percent, down from 2.9 percent.
Northern Virginia: 2.1 percent, down from 2.3 percent.
Richmond: 2.8 percent, unchanged.
Roanoke: 2.5 percent, down from 2.6 percent.
Staunton-Waynesboro: 2.4 percent, down from 2.5 percent.
Winchester: 2.3 percent, down from 2.4 percent.

In smaller, “micropolitan” statistical areas, the December rates were:

Big Stone Gap: 4.7 percent, unchanged.
Bluefield: 4.2 percent, up from 4.1 percent.
Danville: 3.6 percent, down from 3.7 percent.
Martinsville: 3.4 percent, down from 3.6 percent.

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