N.Va. unemployment, November 2020

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

The unemployment rate among Arlington residents continued its descent from COVID- and lockdown-induced heights of spring, but remains far away from returning to pre-pandemic levels.

With 143,912 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 5,719 looking for jobs, Arlington’s unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in November edged down from 4 percent in October, according to figures reported Jan. 6 by the Virginia Employment Commission.

But that rate remains more than double the 1.7-percent figure recorded for county residents in November 2019.

Arlington was among Northern Virginia localities that saw continuing, but increasingly modest, jobless-rate drops from October to November. Unemployment declined from 3.2 percent to 3 percent in Falls Church; from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent in Loudoun County; from 4.9 percent to 4.5 percent in Fairfax County; and from 5.4 percent to 4.9 percent in Prince William County.

For Northern Virginia as a whole, the non-seasonally-adjusted jobless rate of 4.3 percent in November was down from 4.7 percent a month before, but well above the 2.1-percent rate reported in November 2019. The Northern Virginia rate represents just over 1.5 million in the civilian workforce and slightly more than 70,000 looking for jobs.

Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, the lowest unemployment rates for November were found in Highland County (2.3 percent); Madison County and the city of Poquoson (2.7 percent each); and Rockingham County and the city of Falls Church (3 percent each).

The highest rates were found in five cities: Petersburg (12.1 percent); Emporia (9 percent); Hopewell (8.5 percent); Martinsville (8.2 percent); and Portsmouth (8 percent).

Statewide, November’s jobless rate stood at 4.6 percent, down from 5 percent in October but well up from 2.5 percent a year before. The national jobless rate for the month was 6.4 percent, down slightly from 6.6 percent in October.

Statewide, a number of industry sectors continue to feel the pinch, none more so than the leisure/hospitality industry, whose employment remains down more than 16 percent from a year before. The manufacturing and information sectors are down more than 6 percent.

Overall, private-sector nonfarm employment in November was down 140,800 (4.2 percent) from a year before, while public-sector employment declined 38,200 (5.2 percent). The public-sector workforce was down at the state and local levels; employment of Virginians in the federal government, which gets to print an endless supply of money in good times and bad, was up 2,500, or 1.4 percent, from a year before.

Among Virginia’s various regions, Staunton-Waynesboro was the only metropolitan area to see year-over-year growth in employment in November, rising 1.9 percent to 52,100. All other metro areas saw year-over-year declines, with the drops ranging from 2.3 percent in Charlottesville to 7.7 percent in Winchester.

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