Fairfax County’s unemployment rate declined a tick to 1.9 percent to end the year, part of a strong jobs picture across Northern Virginia.
Representing 636,054 county residents in the civilian workforce and 12,257 looking for jobs, the rate was down from 2 percent in November, according to figures reported Feb. 5 by the Virginia Employment Commission.
The county’s decline from November was emblematic of trends across Northern Virginia. The unemployment rate dropped from 1.7 percent to 1.6 percent in Arlington; from 1.8 percent to 1.7 percent in Falls Church; from 1.9 percent to 1.8 percent in Alexandria; and from 2.0 percent to 1.9 percent in Loudoun County. It was unchanged at 2.2 percent in Prince William County.
In Northern Virginia as a whole, December’s jobless rate of 2 percent was down from 2.1 percent a month before, representing 1.65 million in the civilian workforce and 33,100 looking for jobs.
Statewide, the jobless rate of 2.5 percent bumped up a tick from 2.4 percent, as the labor force expanded to a new record for the 18th consecutive month. The finance, leisure/hospitality and private education/healthcare sectors saw improvements in job totals, while manufacturing and government sectors posted declines.
Among Virginia’s 134 cities and counties, the lowest unemployment rates for the month were reported in Arlington, Falls Church and, tied for third at 1.8 percent, Alexandria, the city of Fairfax and Madison County. The highest rates were recorded in Dickenson and Buchanan counties (5.9 percent) and Pulaski County (5.8 percent).
Among metro areas, Northern Virginia recorded the lowest jobless rate in the Old Dominion, followed at 2.1 percent by the trio of Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Staunton/Waynesboro. The highest rates were found in Blacksburg/Christiansburg (3.4 percent), Lynchburg (2.9 percent) and Kingsport/Bristol (2.8 percent).