VEC Final Logo - Virginia Employment Commission

Virginia’s unemployment rate fell 1.8 percentage points in May to 9.4 percent, but that is 6.6 percentage points above the rate from May 2019, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday.

According to household survey data in May, the labor force expanded by about 5,700, or 0.1 percent, to 4.3 million, as the number of unemployed residents fell by 78,144. The number of employed residents increased by 83,927 to 3.9 million. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which fell to 13.3 percent.

April’s preliminary estimates were revised downward 22,200, adding to that month’s job losses. In May, private sector employment increased by 40,700 jobs to nearly 3 million, while public sector payrolls decreased by 20,900 jobs to 685,000.

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From April 2020 to May 2020, seasonally adjusted employment increased in seven major industry divisions and decreased in four. The largest job gains during May occurred in leisure and hospitality with an increase of 19,900 jobs to 258,300. The second largest job gain was in professional and business services which increased 10,200 jobs to 738,500.  

The largest job loss during April occurred in government employment, which dropped by 20,900 jobs in May, driven by declines in state and local government employment.  

From May 2019 to May 2020, the VEC estimates that establishments in Virginia lost 368,100 jobs, or 9.1 percent. In May, the private sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 324,500 jobs, while employment in the public sector lost 43,600 jobs.

Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, ten out of eleven major industry divisions experienced employment declines, with one experiencing a gain. The only job gain occurred in finance, up 1,300 jobs (+0.6%).

The largest year-over-year job loss occurred in leisure and hospitality, down 150,100 jobs (-36.8%). The next largest job loss occurred in trade and transportation, down 52,800 jobs (-8.0%). Education and health services experienced the third largest year-over-year job loss of 52,300 jobs (-9.5%). 

The Northern Virginia region lost 2,800 jobs in May (0.2%) compared with April and lost 134,900 (8.9%) compared with May 2019. 

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