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Staunton-Waynesboro labor market shows continued resilience

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The Staunton-Waynesboro Metropolitan Service Area is the only one of 10 MSAs in Virginia to experience job growth in the past 12 months.

This from data compiled by the Virginia Employment Commission, which on Tuesday reported that the state’s unemployment rate had ticked up a tenth of a point in December, to 4.9 percent, 2.2 percentage points above the rate from December 2019.

Diving inside the numbers, the Waynesboro-Staunton MSA reported 52,900 people employed in December 2020, up 800 – 1.5 percent, modest, but still growth – from December 2019.

This as the number of people employed statewide was down 177,900 year over year, a decrease of 4.4 percent.

The second-best performing job market among the 10 MSAs is our neighbor over the mountain in Charlottesville, which reported 120,400 people employed in December 2020, a decrease of 1,800 – 1.5 percent – from a year ago.

Statewide, according to household survey data in December, the labor force in the Commonwealth increased by 1,017, essentially unchanged, to 4,288,955, as the number of unemployed residents increased by 4,459.

The number of employed residents fell by 3,388 to 4,079,547.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged at 6.7 percent.

Employment rose in five of eleven major industry sectors and declined in six. The largest job gain during December occurred in trade and transportation with an increase of 5,600 jobs to 658,900. The second largest increase occurred in manufacturing (+4,400 jobs) to 233,400.

Other increases included:

  • construction (+1,900 jobs) to 214,400
  • information (+800 jobs) to 65,700
  • miscellaneous (+100 jobs) to 194,800

The largest decrease occurred in government (-6,200 jobs) to 698,700. The decreases occurred in state government (-3,200 jobs), local government (-2,800 jobs), and federal government employment December (-200 jobs).

Leisure and hospitality employment fell by 3,500 jobs to 345,100 over the month.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press