N.Va. unemployment, October 2020

Arlington’s jobless rate continued to improve in October, according to new state figures, but remains more than double what it was a year before.

With 143,679 county residents employed in the civilian workforce and 6,110 looking for jobs, the county’s unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in October represented a decline from 4.5 percent in September, according to data reported Dec. 3 by the Virginia Employment Commission.

Despite the improvement, the county’s jobless picture has significant more room for recovery. A year ago, the jobless rate stood at a rock-bottom 1.7 percent, lowest in the commonwealth and close to an all-time record low for Virginia localities.

Every Virginia community has dealt with higher jobless rates in the wake of COVID and the resulting, sometimes hastily imposed, government imposed economic shutdowns. But like Arlington, the rest of Northern Virginia is clawing its way back.

For October, the jobless rate of 3.2 percent in Falls Church was down from 3.7 percent a month before to lead the region. Nearby jurisdictions also posted declines: From 5.2 percent to 4.3 percent in Loudoun County; from 5.8 percent to 5 percent in Fairfax County; from 6.1 percent to 5.5 percent in Alexandria; and from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent in Prince William County.

For Northern Virginia as a whole, the jobless rate of 4.8 percent in October represented 1.54 million in the civilian workforce and 78,000 looking for jobs. A month before, it had stood at 5.6 percent.

Among Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, the lowest jobless rates for October were turned in by Highland County (2.5 percent), Madison County (2.8 percent), Poquoson County (2.9 percent), and Rockingham County and the city of Falls Church (3.3 percent). The highest rates were found in the cities of Petersburg (13.8 percent), Emporia (10.6 percent), Hopewell (9.9 percent), Martinsville (9.1 percent) and Franklin (8.6 percent).

Statewide, the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 5.1 percent in October was down from 6.1 percent in September, although it remains more than double the rate of a year before. In October, there were 4.33 million Virginians employed in the civilian workforce and about 218,000 looking for jobs.

Nationally, the 7.7-percent unemployment rate is the lowest reported since rates spiked from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April during the initial, chaotic phase of the COVID crisis.

For October, the lowest statewide jobless rates were found in Nebraska (3 percent) and Vermont (3.2 percent), the highest in Hawaii (14.3 percent) and Nevada (12 percent).

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

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