Virginia’s unemployment rate continues decline in March, stays below national average

Virginia News

FILE – This May 7, 2020, file photo shows a man wearing a mask while walking under a Now Hiring sign at a CVS Pharmacy during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. On Thursday, Nov. 12, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, the fourth straight drop and a sign that the job market is slowly healing. The figures coincide with a sharp resurgence in confirmed viral infections to an all-time high above 120,000 a day. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s unemployment rate peaked in April 2020 at 11.3%, now a year later unemployment numbers show rates are still declining. Unemployment was at 5.2% in February and is now down to 5.1%.

The national unemployment rate is 6%, slightly higher than Virginia’s.

“Virginia’s unemployment rate is steadily improving and we are making real progress in safely reopening our economy,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a release. “While we have made great strides in our recovery, we know there is still more work to do. We will continue to focus our efforts bringing more Virginians into the workforce and supporting families, businesses, and communities with the resources they need to build back stronger.”

Employment in the state increased by around 800 jobs in March and the available labor force increased by 1,618 to 4,238,239. The number of employed Virginians was 4,023,563, which was an increase of 6,669 people.

“As more and more Virginians receive vaccines, we get closer to ending this pandemic, and our economy becomes stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Despite a tough year, companies have continued to expand and create new jobs in Virginia thanks to our strong business climate and world-class workforce.”

Over the last year, Virginia has lost 145,200 jobs in the private sector and 36,800 in the public sector. The leisure and hospitality industry experienced the most job losses.

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