The COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent government-imposed lockdown and resulting economic freefall cost nearly 17,000 Arlington residents their jobs between mid-March and mid-April, according to new state data.
A total of 153,664 county residents were reported in the civilian workforce in March, a figure that dropped to 137,176 in April, according to Virginia Employment Commission figures released June 3.
The county’s unemployment rate, which in March had been a miniscule 2.2 percent, ballooned to 7 percent, knocking the county off its longstanding perch of having the best jobs picture in the commonwealth.
Hopefully, however, the worst may be over. In Arlington, initial weekly claims for unemployment benefits peaked in early April at 2,484 and have continued a slow but steady decline to hit 583 for the most recent reporting week. Ongoing countywide unemployment claims have stabilized at around 5,800 for the last several weeks.
Arlington’s big bump up in April joblessness was mirrored throughout Northern Virginia. Rates rose from 2.3 percent to 5.8 percent in Falls Church; from 2.5 percent to 9.9 percent in Alexandria; from 2.7 percent to 9.9 percent in Loudoun County; from 2.7 percent to 10.2 percent in Fairfax County; and from 3 percent to 11.3 percent in Prince William County.
In Northern Virginia as a whole, April’s jobless rate of 10 percent was up from 2.7 percent a month before, representing 1.47 million in the civilian workforce and 163,000 looking for jobs.
Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, the lowest jobless rates were turned in by Falls Church, followed by Highland County (6.3 percent) and Southampton County (6.9 percent). Arlington was fourth, followed by Madison County.
The highest rates for the month were reported in Bath County (20.5 percent), Galax (17.3 percent), Wythe County (17.2 percent), Pulaski County (17.1 percent) and Martinsville (16.9 percent).
Statewide, Virginia’s non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 10.8 percent was up from 3.3 percent a month before.
Nationally, more than 40 states set all-time highs in unemployment rates in April, based on data stretching back to 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the states, the best jobs picture was found in Connecticut, where the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent. It was followed by Minnesota (8.1 percent) and Nebraska (8.3 percent).
On the other side of the coin, Nevada posted a jobless rate of 28.2 percent, followed by Michigan (22.7 percent) and Hawaii (22.3 percent).
Nationally, the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 14.4 percent was up from 4.5 percent a month before.