Virginia’s unemployment rate falls for 17 straight months

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in October, which is 2.5 percentage points below the rate from one year ago. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate of 4.6 percent.

The Commonwealth’s labor force participation rate rose to 63.0 percent. This rate is above the national rate of 61.6 percent. 

“Virginia’s economy is making great strides, with the lowest unemployment rate since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said Governor Northam. “The positive trend is the result of careful fiscal management and our extensive work to make Virginia a welcoming and open place. This approach has served Virginia well and continuing it will deliver further economic gains for the Commonwealth.” 

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 19,400 jobs in October. The labor force increased by 5,918 to 4,256,634, as the number of unemployed residents decreased by 7,566 to 154,126. The number of employed residents rose by 13,484 to 4,102,508. In October 2021, Virginia saw over-the-year job gains of 2.0 percent. 

“The declining unemployment rate and growth across many industries suggest that Virginia’s economy is as dynamic as ever,” said Secretary of Labor Megan Healy. “Employers and employees are working together on our economic recovery, and we should all be proud of how far we have come.” 

“The Commonwealth’s job market recovery maintained its momentum through October, another positive sign of what’s to come for Virginia’s post-pandemic economy,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “With nearly 20,000 jobs added and growth across ten of the eleven major industrial sectors since last year, Virginia’s economy continues its favorable growth trajectory.”

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, ten of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment increases. The largest over-the-year job gain occurred in leisure and hospitality, up 25,200 jobs or 7.6 percent. The next largest over-the-year job gain occurred in professional and business services, up 24,500 jobs or 3.2 percent. Government experienced the third-largest over-the-year job gain of 9,700 jobs or 1.4 percent.