Va. unemployment rate drops to 4% in August
Decline continues for 15th month
In August, the state’s unemployment rate was at 4%, a 0.2-point decline below July’s rate, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday. The state’s unemployment rate has declined for 15 months straight, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August 2020, the state’s jobless rate was at 7%, 3 points higher than last month. Virginia continued to see an expansion of the labor force, with 5,550 people starting jobs last month, totaling 4.247 million statewide, and the number of unemployed Virginians decreased by 7,678 since July. The state also recorded over-the-year job gains of 2.2%. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was 5.2% last month.
“Virginia’s economic recovery continues to outpace the nation,” Northam said in a statement. “Our unemployment rate remains well below the national average and has fallen consistently every month for the past 15 months. More people are working and businesses are continuing to flock to our commonwealth — even with the ongoing threat of COVID-19. I’m proud of our roaring economic growth, and I look forward to seeing these trends continue.”
The number of employed Virginians increased by 13,228 to 4.07 million in August, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday. The private sector saw an increase of 1,500 jobs last month to 3.2 million jobs total, while public sector jobs grew by 9,000 to 704,500, marking the largest job gain last month in one sector, according to the VEC, after a 8,800 decline in July.
Employment rose in six of 11 major industry sectors, declined in four, and was unchanged in one, the VEC reported.
The second largest increase occurred in the miscellaneous sector (+4,600 jobs) to 185,500. Leisure and hospitality gained 2,300 jobs, rising to 347,500 in August. Other increases included finance, construction and manufacturing. The largest job loss during August occurred in trade and transportation with a decrease of 3,400 jobs to 653,400. The second largest decrease occurred in professional and business services (-2,600 jobs) to 773,100. Other decreases included education and health services, and information.
The VEC reported that five out of Virginia’s 10 metropolitan areas saw nonfarm job gains during August, with Northern Virginia gaining 3,700 jobs and Winchester ranking second with 5000 more jobs. The Richmond area lost 2,400 jobs during the month, the most in the state, followed by Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, which saw a 2,000-job decline.
After some increases in unemployment claims last month, statewide new jobless claims have decreased for the past three weeks.