FILE - Now Hiring sign, unemployment, jobs

Virginia has 182,000 reasons to want to get back to a pre-COVID environment.

That’s the number of jobs that the Virginia Employment Commission estimates were missing from the local Old Dominion’s economy in March compared to a year before, the last month before the pandemic upended daily life across the state.

The 182,000 lost jobs represent a decline of 4.5 percent of the total statewide workforce from a year ago. The bulk of the loss – 145,200 jobs – came in the private sector, which now lags March 2020 by 4.5 percent. The biggest decline, at the height of the pandemic and today, has come in the leisure/hospitality industry sector, which remains down nearly 19 percent.

Public-sector jobs are off 5 percent from a year before, with all of those drops coming at the state and local levels. Federal-government employment is up.

Northern Virginia’s job loss of 70,800 represents 39 percent of the statewide total, and is off 4.6 percent from a year ago.

Richmond’s job loss totals 38,900, a drop of 5.6 percent, while in the Hampton Roads area, the decline of 32,500 jobs represented a drop of 4.1 percent.

All 10 metro areas that include Virginia localities had year-over-year employment loss in March.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]