Virginia unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent
Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point this month to 5.5 percent, the third consecutive monthly decline, and was 0.6 percentage point below the year-ago December rate of 6.1 percent. This month’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.5 percent is the lowest in four years when the December 2008 rate was 5.3 percent. The labor force expanded for the fourth consecutive month, as the additional people that reported working exceeded the drop in the number of unemployed. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is below the December national rate of 7.8 percent, which was unchanged from November.
Virginia’s unadjusted unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point in December to 5.4 percent, but was 0.5 percentage point below the December 2011 rate. The number of unemployed increased by 4,197, or 1.8 percent, while the labor force contracted by 15,054, as household employment declined by 19,251.
Virginia’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues below the national unadjusted rate, which increased to 7.6 percent in December from 7.4 percent in November. The number of Virginians receiving a regular unemployment benefit payment was 48,464 in December 2012, which was down from 48,642 in November 2012 and down from 54,434 in December 2011. Cumulative initial claims for December 2012 totaled 26,407, compared to 26,506 in November 2012 and 35,562 in December 2011.