N.Va. unemployment, May 2020

The local employment picture in May crawled back slightly from the abyss of April, according to new state data, with most parts of Northern Virginia seeing modest improvements in unemployment rates.

In Arlington, May’s jobless rate of 6.1 percent was a comeback from 7 percent in April, although it remains far above norms of the past decade.

The Arlington data, reported July 1 by the Virginia Employment Commission, represented 140,252 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 9,049 looking for jobs.

The decline in jobless rates was mirrored in most other major Northern Virginia localities: In Falls Church, May’s rate of 4.9 percent was down from 5.8 percent a month before; in Loudoun County, the rate of 8.4 percent was down from 9.9 percent; in Alexandria, the rate of 8.7 percent was down from 9.9 percent; in Fairfax County, the rate of 8.8 percent was down from 10.2 percent; and in Prince William County, the rate of 10.1 percent was down from 11.3 percent.

In Northern Virginia as a whole, May’s unemployment rate of 8.6 percent was down from 10 percent in April, representing just over 1.5 million in the civilian workforce and 141,500 looking for jobs.

Among Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, Falls Church reported the lowest joblessness, followed by Highland County (5.6 percent), Madison County (5.8 percent) and, tied at 6.1 percent, Arlington and Poquoson counties.

On the other end of the spectrum, the highest jobless rates were reported in Petersburg (17.2 percent), Bath County (16.8 percent), Martinsville (14.7 percent), Emporia (14.5 percent) and Hopewell (13.9 percent).

Among metropolitan areas, the lowest Virginia joblessness was found in Staunton-Waynesboro (7.8 percent) and Charlottesville (8.3 percent), the highest in Hampton Roads (10.4 percent).

Virginia’s jobless rate of 9.2 percent in May was down from 10.8 percent a month before and below the national rate of 13 percent.

Nationally, year-over-year joblessness was up everywhere, but month-over-month unemployment fell in 38 states. It was higher in three and stable in nine.

Nebraska (5.2 percent) had the lowest joblessness rate for the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the highest rates were reported in Nevada (25.3 percent), Hawaii (22.6 percent) and Michigan (21.2 percent).

For the month, four states – Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Minnesota – recorded their highest monthly unemployment since federal record-keeping began in 1976.

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