Virginia umployment rate dips in May

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Virginia’s economy started pulling itself out of the COVID-19 shutdown funk in May, with unemployment falling 1.8 percentage points in May to 9.4 percent.

The labor force expanded by 5,783, or 0.1 percent, to 4,319,833, as the number of unemployed residents fell by 78,144. The number of employed residents increased by 83,927 to 3,915,866.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which fell to 13.3 percent.

Virginia nonagricultural wage and salary employment, from the monthly establishment survey, rose by 19,800 jobs in May to 3,681,600. April’s preliminary estimates were revised downward 22,200, adding to that month’s job losses. In May, private sector employment increased by 40,700 jobs to 2,996,600, while public sector payrolls decreased by 20,900 jobs to 685,000.

From April 2020 to May 2020, seasonally adjusted employment increased in seven major industry divisions and decreased in four. The largest job gains during May occurred in leisure and hospitality with an increase of 19,900 jobs to 258,300. The second largest job gain was in professional and business services which increased 10,200 jobs to 738,500. Other employment gains included: education and health services (+6,200 jobs) to 499,400, trade and transportation (+4,300 jobs) to 606,300, construction (+2,700 jobs) to 200,000, miscellaneous services (+300 jobs) to 178,300, and mining, (+200 jobs) to 7,600.

The largest job loss during April occurred in government employment which dropped by 20,900 jobs in May. For total government, a gain occurred in federal government (+100 jobs) and losses in state government (-5,900 jobs) and local government (-15,100 jobs). Other employment losses included: manufacturing (-1,300 jobs) to 228,600, information (-1,100 jobs) to 66,600, and finance (-700 jobs) to 213,000.


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