unemployment

As the nation’s unemployment has held at 4.1 percent for the last few months, Virginia is actually doing slightly better. For the month of March, the Commonwealth’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent, down minutely from the 3.5 reported in February, as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“On balance, Virginia’s March labor market report was positive and continued the good news reported for February,” said Ann Battle Macheras, group vice president of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The state’s jobless rate was the lowest recorded since March 2008, less than a year before the Great Recession. The figures were announced last Friday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

The unemployment rates listed are also seasonally adjusted for extenuating factors that could temporarily sway employment rates higher or lower.

The Commission’s reports show that seasonally adjusted employment in March grew in six major industries, remained constant in two, and decreased in three, respectively.

March’s largest employment gain was found in the private education and health services sectors, which increased by 2,200 positions to 536,000. The trade and transportation market enjoyed an increase of 1,900, providing the second-largest jump.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing sector saw the biggest drop in March, decreasing by 1,000 jobs.

In March, the Commonwealth’s non-farm employment stock grew by 4,000 jobs. This was seen by the Commission as the third consecutive monthly increase. Though, the increase was not as strong as the beginning of the year.

Moreover, the statewide labor force saw its second expansion period in two months as 4,547 jobs were added. The Commission now reports the total state labor force at 4,325,379, a record high.

In all, Virginia’s unemployed officially number dropped to 147,022, from 149,724.

Macheras added, “Job growth during the first quarter of the year was solid for Virginia, with a monthly average gain of 11,000 jobs per month in the first three months of the year. This is a welcome trend following a soft fourth quarter of 2017.”