State unemployment rate slid to 4.5% in May
Va. jobless rate trends lower than U.S. rate of 5.8%
Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 4.5% in May, dropping 0.2 percentage points below April’s jobless rate.
May’s statewide unemployment rate was 4 percentage points below May 2020’s rate of 8.5% in the first months of the pandemic shutdowns. Virginia continued to trend lower than the nation; the U.S. unemployment rate for May was 5.8%.
“More people are working in Virginia and our recovery is outpacing the rest of the country,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “This week, we reached the 70% vaccination benchmark, and we did it two weeks ahead of the nationwide July 4 target. In the weeks and months ahead, we will remain focused on helping the communities that COVID-19 hit hardest and making sure all Virginians have the resources they need to thrive.”
The labor force increased by 4,042 to 4.22 million in May, with the number of unemployed Virginians decreasing by 8,061, according to data released Wednesday by the Virginia Employment Commission. The number of employed Virginians increased by 12,103 to 4.04 million.
The largest year-over-year job gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which gained 104,600 jobs or 45.7%, and the next largest gain was in trade, transportation and utilities, which increased by 59,800 jobs, or 10%. Education and health services saw a gain of 31,500 jobs, or a 6.3% increase. Government jobs fell by 3,600 in May, the state’s largest job loss last month, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.