Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Is Lowest in 18+ Years

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Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 2.8% to 2.7% in September, state and federal officials announced Friday.

Virginia was one of seven states where the unemployment rate fell last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment in the commonwealth continues to be well below the national rate of 3.5%.

According to the bureau’s data, Virginia had the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the Southeast. Virginia was tied with Colorado, Hawaii and Utah for the third-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Vermont had the country’s lowest rate — 2.2%.

“I am pleased to see the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate drop to its lowest point in more than 18 years, a clear signal that our economy is strong and our efforts to attract 21st-century jobs to Virginia are paying off,” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a news release.

Since September 2018, Northern Virginia had the largest job gain in the state — an increase of 14,500 positions (1%), according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The Richmond metropolitan area had the second largest gain of 5,300 jobs (0.8%). The Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News area added 4,900 jobs (0.6%).

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted total nonfarm employment rose by 250,900 jobs, or 0.6%, from a year ago.

“We continue to be proud that Virginia has one of the nation’s and our region’s lowest unemployment rates, but we must also remain focused on creating high-quality, family-sustaining jobs across every part of the Commonwealth,” said Brian Ball, secretary of commerce and trade.

The largest job increase in September was in private education and health services with a gain of 1,900 jobs to 556,000.

State officials said Virginia’s labor force expanded for the 15th consecutive month to set a record of more than 4.4 million workers.

“Virginia’s workforce is second to none, and we continue to be a national leader by providing quality, skilled labor to all our businesses,” said chief workforce development adviser Megan Healy.

Kelly Booth / Capital News Service