Virginia’s jobless rate dips below 5 percent

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Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell below 5 percent in February, the first time it has been that low in more than five years.

February’s jobless rate of 4.9 percent was one tenth (0.1) of a percentage point below January’s rate of 5 percent and marked the seventh consecutive monthly decline.

The February rate also was seven tenths (0.7) of percentage point lower than the same month in 2013.

The last time that the unemployment rate hit 4.9 percent was November 2008.

The national seasonally adjusted employment rate for February was 6.7 percent, up one tenth of a percentage point from January.

Seasonally adjusted rates take into consideration seasonal fluctuations in the labor market.

The commonwealth’s labor force expanded by 27,170 people in February, the second consecutive increase.

Employment increased in six major industry sectors and declined in five.

The largest  job increase occurred in private education and health care, up 3,700 jobs to 514,100.

The biggest decline in jobs took place in leisure and hospitality, down 3,600 jobs to 363,000.

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