State unemployment continues to drop while Virginia Beach’s increases

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RICHMOND – Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased for the third consecutive month, falling to 3.8 percent in March.

The unemployment rate, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said, is the lowest it has been since May 2008 and is below the national rate. The labor force increased by 9,248 in March, according to the release.

As of January, unemployment rates in Virginia Beach were at 4 percent but increased to 4.5 percent in February. Norfolk unemployment sat at 5.1 percent in January and also continued to decrease, falling to 5 percent in February.

“I’m pleased to see our tireless efforts to diversify and build a new Virginia economy come to fruition,” McAuliffe said in a news release. “We are certainly starting 2017 off in a great position, and today’s announcement of the third consecutive drop in unemployment is a very positive indicator that our economy is strengthening. With the threat of sequestration cuts later this year, we must continue to do everything we can to make targeted investments in key sectors of the economy. I look forward to this positive trend in unemployment decline continuing through the remainder of this year and beyond.”

According to the release, the Commonwealth has the second-lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among major U.S. states.

The state’s labor force has also expanded for the 12th consecutive month at a record-setting 4,290,397 jobs. McAullife said household employment also increased for the twenty-seventh consecutive month to 4,129,123, which is also a record-high.

Household employment rose by 13,530 and the number of unemployed fell by 4,282.

“We continue to see increases in employment and labor force expansion, as well as decreases in the unemployment rate throughout Virginia, strong signs that the Governor’s mandate to build a new Virginia economy is working,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore in the release.

The Commonwealth’s over-the-year employment increased by 1.2 percent and has maintained positive growth for 36 consecutive months, according to the news release.

The release stated that private sector jobs had expanded with an over-the-year gain of about 46,200 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of around 400 jobs.

Compared to last March, eight of the 11 major industry divisions experienced employment gains on a seasonally adjusted basis.