Va. unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% in October
October marks 17th month of declining rate
In October, Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6%, 0.2 points below September’s rate, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday. The state’s unemployment rate has declined for 17 months straight.
In October 2020, the jobless rate was at 5.3%, 2.5 points higher than last month.
The labor force increased by 5,918 to almost 4.26 million, and the number of unemployed residents decreased by 7,566 from September, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday. The state recorded over-the-year job gains of 2%. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was 4.6% last month.
“Virginia’s economy is making great strides, with the lowest unemployment rate since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” Northam said in a statement. “The positive trend is the result of careful fiscal management and our extensive work to make Virginia a welcoming and open place. This approach has served Virginia well and continuing it will deliver further economic gains for the commonwealth.”
The number of employed Virginians increased by 13,484 to 4.1 million in October. The private sector saw an increase of 13,500 jobs to 3.2 million total, while public sector jobs increased by 5,900 to 719,800 total, according to VEC.
Employment rose in eight of 11 major industry sectors, declined in one and was unchanged in two, construction and finance. The largest job gain during October occurred in leisure and hospitality, with an increase of 7,200 jobs to total 357,800. The second largest increase was in government, which gained 5,900 jobs for a total of 719,800. The other industries with increases were trade and transportation, professional and business services, education and health services, information, mining and miscellaneous services.
Manufacturing was the only sector to see job loss, losing 3,500 jobs, which dropped the total to 235,300.
The VEC reported that nine of Virginia’s 10 metropolitan areas saw nonfarm job gains during October, with Northern Virginia gaining 6,500 jobs and the Virginia-Beach-Norfolk-Newport News area taking second with 2,400 jobs. Roanoke did not see a change in nonfarm jobs.
Virginia has seen a decrease in initial unemployment claims in the last few weeks, with claims hovering around 1,000 to 2,000. In the most recent filing week that the VEC has reported, the department recorded 1,290 new claims.