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Virginia’s jobless rate continues to fall

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Virginia’s unemployment rate continued to decline in March, falling to 3.8 percent.

The Virginia Employment Commission said Friday that the commonwealth’s jobless rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point during March, the third consecutive monthly decrease.

The unemployment rate is based on seasonally adjusted numbers, meaning they take into account seasonal fluctuations in the state’s labor force.

March’s unemployment rate is the lowest recorded in Virginia since May 2008. The March rate is two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the figure recorded in March 2016.

The commonwealth’s March 2017 unemployment rate also is seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate for that month, 4.5 percent.

While Virginia’s jobless rate dipped in March, its total nonfarm employment decreased by 5,000 jobs to 3,955,300 after rising by 27,500 jobs during the previous three months. 

In reporting its March figures, the VEC revised its estimate of jobs gained in February. The new total for that month now stands at 14,000 jobs, up 2,600 from the original estimate of 11,400 jobs.

During the past 12 months, March 2016 to March 2017, the state has recorded a net gain of 45,800 jobs.

In March, employment fell in five major industry categories, while rising in four and remaining unchanged in two.

The biggest decrease during the month came in the trade and transportation sector, which fell 5,000 jobs to 665,600.

The largest gain in employment occurred in professional and business services, up 2,900 jobs to 731,600.

Employment in finance and mining remained unchanged in Virginia during March at 204,400 and 7,900, respectively.

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