July jobless rate hits 4.2% in Va., a small decrease
State unemployment number well below national average
In July, the state’s unemployment rate saw a small decline to 4.2%, 0.1 points below June’s rate, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday.
In July 2020, the jobless rate was at 7.9%, 3.7 points higher than last month. Virginia continued to see an expansion of the labor force, with 7,818 people starting jobs last month, totaling 4.24 million statewide, and the number of unemployed Virginians decreased by 7,595 since June. The state also recorded over-the-year job gains of 3.8%. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was 5.4% last month.
“Our administration is focused on creating an economic climate that will help Virginia’s workers and businesses thrive,” Northam said in a statement. “The impressive gains in payroll employment and the downward trend of unemployment rates continue to show the strength and resiliency of our economy and our workforce as we recover from the pandemic. Virginians have shown great resolve over the last year and a half, and it is evident in the numbers we are seeing in this report.”
The number of employed Virginians increased by 15,413 to 4.06 million in July, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday. The private sector saw an increase of 11,100 jobs last month to 3.2 million jobs total, while public sector jobs declined by 8,800 to 695,500, according to the VEC, after a 10,500 gain in June. The largest job gain during July occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which gained 9,600 jobs to 342,200 total, and the second largest increase was in professional and business services, with a 5,600 increase to 777,100 jobs.
The VEC reported that nine out of Virginia’s 10 metropolitan areas saw nonfarm job gains during July, with the Richmond region gaining 3,100 jobs and Charlottesville ranking second with 1,800 more jobs. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News area marked a 1,000-job decrease during the month.
However, initial unemployment claims, after several weeks of declining numbers, have increased significantly in the past two weeks. For the filing week ending Aug. 14, the state recorded 16,593 new jobless claims, up 62% from the previous week. Continued claims totaled 35,081, up 3,342 claims from the previous week.