366K+ Virginians remain jobless
Nearly 49M Americans have filed jobless claims during pandemic
More than 366,000 Virginians are still unemployed following the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and initial jobless claims rose by more than 6,000 last week.
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) announced Thursday that 906,734 people have filed initial unemployment claims since March 15.
Nearly 32,000 Virginians filed initial claims last week, an increase of 6,662 from the week prior. In Virginia, 366,714 people remain unemployed, which is 346,917 more than the same week last year, which saw only 19,797 continued claims. People receiving unemployment benefits through the VEC must file weekly unemployment claims in order to continue receiving benefits.
“Jobless claims remain high as another 33,062 Virginians filed an initial claim for unemployment insurance last week,” Dominique Johnson, research associate at Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, said in a statement. “While the Virginia economy continues to show signs of improvement, even as other states reinstate lockdown measures due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases, the uncertainty for Virginia’s economy in the coming months remains high.”
For the month of May, the unemployment rate in Virginia was 9.2%, compared to only 2.7% during May 2019, according to VEC statistics released Thursday.
The 10 localities with the highest unemployment rates for May 2020 include:
- Petersburg, 17.2%
- Bath County, 15.8%
- Martinsville, 14.7%
- Emporia, 14.5%
- Hopewell, 13.9%
- Covington, 13.8%
- Danville, 12.7%
- Pulaski County, 12.7%
- Williamsburg, 12.6%
- Newport News, 12.6%
Falls Church had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.9%, followed by Highland County, Madison County, Arlington, Poquoson, Richmond County, King George County, Nottoway County, Southampton County and Lunenburg County — each of which reported an unemployment rate lower than 7%.
Last week, 1.42 million people in the United States filed initial claims for unemployment, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Thursday, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to nearly 49 million in the wake of the pandemic and economic crisis.
U.S. claims were down by 55,000 from the week prior. For the week ending June 13, 47 states reported that nearly 13 million people are claiming federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides temporary benefits for people who are not eligible for regular or traditional unemployment insurance.
Nonfarm payroll employment (goods, construction and manufacturing companies) in June increased by 4.8 million in the U.S. and the hospitality sector added 2.1 million jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“The June jobs report just happened to coincide with the trough of COVID-19 cases in the United States and likely represents a peak in activity given the surge in cases in late June and early July, Robert McNab, director of the Dragas Center, said in a statement. “While it is good news, there is a steep hill to climb.
“African-Americans and Hispanics continue to be disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 recession and experience greater rates of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19. We continue to project a long, slow and uncertain recovery.”
The regions of the state that have been most impacted continue to be Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Below are the top 10 localities, listed by number of initial unemployment claims, for the week ending June 27:
- Fairfax County, 2,509
- Norfolk, 1,710
- Richmond, 1,602
- Virginia Beach, 1,447
- Prince William County, 1,311
- Newport News, 1,155
- Henrico County, 1,004
- Chesapeake, 955
- Portsmouth, 923
- Chesterfield County, 892
Thirty-nine states reported 749,703 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular or traditional unemployment insurance benefits to those who have exhausted their eligibility.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 13.2% for the week that ended June 20, unchanged from the previous week.
The states and U.S. territories with the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending on June 13 were Puerto Rico, Nevada, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, New York, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut.
States with the largest increases in initial claims for the week that ended on June 20 were California, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey and Indiana, while the largest decreases were seen in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia and New York.