Virginia unemployment rate drops to 3.5%
February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest rate since the April 2008 rate of 3.5 percent. In February, the labor force expanded by 3,950, after declining the previous four months, and at 4,320,994, set a new record high. Household employment increased by 8,189, which was the second consecutive monthly increase, and at 4,171,274, also set a new record high. The number of unemployed continued to drop, declining 4,239 to 149,720. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was unchanged again in February at 4.1 percent.
“This is a tremendous new milestone for the Commonwealth’s economy and affirms our efforts to fill the jobs of the 21st century with a first-class workforce,” said Governor Northam. “My administration is committed to continuing along this positive trajectory with investments in workforce development and providing support to businesses large and small that call Virginia home.”
Virginia has the second lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states behind Tennessee which has a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.4 percent. Virginia, along with Massachusetts, has the seventh best rate among the states east of the Mississippi. Virginia is tied with Massachusetts with the seventeenth lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
“Today’s announcement reaffirms that our Commonwealth’s economy is trending in the right direction, thanks in large part to our world-class workforce,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Esther Lee. “We will continue to provide opportunities for Virginians by focusing on 21st century job training and by attracting additional jobs and investment to Virginia.”
Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 36,300 jobs higher when compared to February of 2017. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 47 consecutive months. In February, Virginia’s over-the-year growth was 0.9 percent, which was stronger than the over-the-year growth the previous five months. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.6 percent from a year ago.
In February, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 36,500 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 200 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains, while the other three experienced employment losses.
For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website at www.vec.virginia.gov.