Virginia unemployment rose to 5.6 percent in August
Virginia’s unemployment rate continues to move in the wrong direction.
The Virginia Employment Commission reported on Friday that the August seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 5.6 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from July.
The August number represent the third increase in the past four months. At 5.6 percent, Virginia’s unemployment rate in August was at the same level it was 12 months before. While the commonwealth’s jobless rate has been inching up in recent months, the numbers in 2014 had been lower than those seen in the same months in 2013.
A VEC revision in the unemployment rate for July saved the commonwealth from recording four straight months of increases instead of three out of four. July’s rate was revised downward to 5.3 percent, the same level as June, instead of rising one-tenth of percentage point to 5.4 percent.
The seasonally adjusted numbers take into account the season fluctuations in the labor market. The national unemployment rate for August was 6.1 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from July.
Economists have blamed the commonwealth’s rising unemployment rates to a slowing state economy, caused in part by reduced federal spending. The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates on Thursday voted to trim the commonwealth’s two-year $96 billion budget to address a revenue shortfall.
During August, the Virginia labor force contracted by more than 25,000 workers, as a drop in household employment exceeded an increase in the number of people seeking work, according to the VEC.
Virginia’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment decreased by 1,500 jobs in August to 3.787 million. State employment continues to be under its peak of 3.791 million jobs reached in April 2008 before the depths of the Great Recession.
Employment fell in five major industry divisions during August and increased in six, according to the VEC. The biggest job decline occurred in professional and business service, down 2.500 jobs to 666,600. The largest pickup in jobs occurred in the leisure and hospitality industry, rising 2,200 jobs to 370,000.