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Virginia unemployment rises slightly

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Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up one tenth of a percentage point in March to 5 percent, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

The change ended a seven-month streak of declines in the commonwealth’s jobless rate.

Virginia’s total nonfarm employment fell by 5,100 jobs in March from February.

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

While up slightly from the February rate, the March 2014 unemployment rate represents an improvement of six tenths of a percentage point from the 5.6 percent figure recorded in March 2013.

The Virginia unemployment rate in March also was 1.7 percentage points lower than the national rate of 6.7 percent.

The commonwealth’s labor force expanded in March for the third consecutive month, rising by 28,211 people from February. Of those entering labor market during March, 24,534 reported finding jobs while 3,677 were seeking employment.

Total nonfarm employment in March was 3.8 million jobs, down 5,100 from February. However, the VEC has revised preliminary figures for the previous two months.

After the revisions, February showed a gain of 7,500 jobs, up from 4,900 while January recorded a loss of 6,000 jobs, down from an initial reported loss of 9,500 jobs.

Total nonfarm employment remains more than 27,000 below the commonwealth’s peak employment in April 2008.

During March, the private sector lost 6,100 jobs while the public sector gained 1,000 jobs.

Employment fell in seven major industries during March, while increasing in three and remaining unchanged in one, mining, at 9,900 jobs.

The biggest job loss was in professional business services, down 2,300 jobs to 663,400. The biggest increase took place in trade and transportation, up 1,600 jobs to 639,400.

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