Virginia’s unemployment rate reaches 7 percent

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Virginia’s unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the last year, from 3.6 percent to 7 percent, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. But it’s still lower than the national average, 9.1 percent.

The commonwealth’s unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points between April and May, according to the VEC.

The commission’s monthly report attributed the rise to the addition of college graduates to the labor market and the suspension of automobile manufacturing at many Virginia plants, which forced many suppliers to lay off workers.

All of the state’s metropolitan areas saw a rise in unemployment between April and May of this year. Northern Virginia has the lowest unemployment rate at 5 percent, while Danville had the highest jobless rate at 13 percent.  Comparing individual localities, Arlington County reported the lowest jobless rate at 4.5 percent, and Martinsville had the highest unemployment rate at 21.9 percent.

June unemployment rates are likely to increase as high school students enter the job market. The VEC predicts this year will be the worst summer job market in nearly three decades.

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